Four men sent to prison for armed-Robbery Conspiracy that targeted Cell-Phone stores around Cleveland
Three men were sentenced to prison this week for their roles an armed-robbery conspiracy in which the defendants used firearms to rob five electronics stores in Northeast Ohio of nearly 500 cellular and smart phones valued at nearly $190,000, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Robin Shoemaker, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Columbus office.
Curtis Bobbitt, 45, of Maple Heights, was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison. He was previously found guilty of Hobbs Act conspiracy, brandishing a firearm while committing a felony and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Marlon Portis Jr., 23, of Cleveland, was sentenced to 15 ½ years in prison after being convicted of Hobbs Act conspiracy and brandishing a firearm while committing a felony.
Demonte Thompson, 23, of Maple Heights, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of Hobbs Act conspiracy and brandishing a firearm while committing a felony.
The three men were collectively ordered to pay $188,126 in restitution.
A fourth man, Miguel McGhee, was sentenced earlier this month to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $44,119 in restitution. He was previously found guilty of robbery and conspiracy to commit robberies following a jury trial.
"This group barged into stores with guns, tied up workers and stole thousands of dollars worth of smart phones,” Dettelbach said. “Our office will continue to use every available tool to target firearms crimes and gun violence.”
“This case highlights cooperative efforts amongst law enforcement entities to ensure that violent offenders are held accountable for their actions,” Shoemaker said. “ATF will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue those individuals who disrupt and endanger the lives of innocent people.”
Thompson, Bobbitt, Ports and McGee engaged in a conspiracy between December 2010 and October 2011 to rob several retail stores that sold electronics, according to court documents.
The men brandished firearms, restrained employees with duct tape and stole brand-new high end cellular telephones and smart phones, according to court documents.
Bobbitt, and in one robbery McGhee, provided vehicles and transportation to and from the robberies and then transported the stolen cellular phones. Bobbitt and the others then contacted individuals who would purchase the stolen phones, negotiated a price and distributed the monies from the sale of the stolen phones, according to court documents.
Thompson and Portis wore dark-colored clothing, masks, hats and gloves to conceal their identities during the robberies, according to court documents.
They robbed the following stores, according to court documents:
Radio Shack, 5369 Warrensville Center Road, Maple Heights, on Dec. 3, 2010. Thompson and Portis stole 97 cellular phones valued at $23,515.
Radio Shack, 5672 Transportation Blvd., Garfield Heights, on Jan. 6, 2011. Thompson and Portis stole 77 cellular phones valued at $20,604.
Radio Shack, 10740 Lorain Road, Cleveland, on Sept. 20, 2011. Thompson and Portis stole 89 cellular phones valued at $34,539.
Radio Shack, 22318 Lakeshore Blvd., Euclid, on Oct. 1, 2011. Thompson and Portis stole 110 cellular phones valued at $56,058.
T-Mobile, 663 East Aurora Road, Macedonia on Oct. 15, 2011. Thompson and Portis stole 114 cellular phones valued at $53,408.
They also attempted to rob the Maple Heights store a second time on Sept. 19, 2011, but that attempt failed, according to court documents.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly Galvin and Chelsea Rice following an investigation by the ATF, with assistance from the Macedonia, Maple Heights and Garfield Heights police departments.