Two Men Convicted of Attempted Robbery Thwarted by Store Customer
RICHMOND, Va. – Two men were convicted by a federal jury yesterday of attempting to carry out an armed robbery of a Mr. Fuel Truck Stop in Caroline County, which was thwarted by a customer who attacked the gunman threatening the store clerks.
Warren Brown, 32, and Winston Oliver, 33, both of Richmond, Va., were convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery, and two counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence. They face a maximum of life in prison when they are sentenced on Dec. 12, 2011.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael F. A. Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office; and A.A. “Tony” Lippa Jr., Caroline County Sheriff, made the announcement.
“These convictions are a result of the great partnership between federal and local law enforcement, as well as the heroism of a former Marine who put his life on the line to defend a cashier held hostage by Mr. Brown,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Support from everyday citizens is indispensable in our effort to deter and capture violent criminals.”
“Community strength is not measured solely on the presence of law enforcement. The assistance of those in the community who cooperated with law enforcement and testified in court, is a testament to this strength and the willingness of its citizens to not turn a blind eye to crime,” said SAC Morehart. “Through the cooperative efforts of our Division, the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, the community and the United States Attorney’s Office, two violent criminals will now atone for their criminal activity.”
“This robbery was stopped by a brave man, and we’re all grateful that he survived,” said Sheriff Lippa. “We appreciate the great working relationship we have with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which helped bring this case to a fair and successful conclusion.”
According to court records and evidence at trial, Oliver was the mastermind behind the plan to rob the truck stop after gaining inside information on the store’s cash management system. Oliver conspired with Brown to rob the Mr. Fuel’s, and Brown entered the store armed with a handgun to carry out the robbery while Oliver waited outside in a getaway car.
While Brown threatened two store clerks with the loaded handgun, a customer in the store, a former Marine, attacked Brown with two beer bottles, which thwarted the robbery and ensured the store clerks were unharmed. Brown fired at the customer as Brown fled the store, and the customer was hit four times at point blank range: once in the shoulder, once in the right thigh, once in the groin, and once in the middle of the forehead. The customer recovered from the injuries and testified at trial.
Following the attempted robbery, Brown reunited with Oliver in the awaiting getaway car, and Oliver drove the pair back to Richmond. Brown left the handgun with Oliver, who took steps to dispose of it.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Richmond Field Office and the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Roderick Young and Erik Siebert are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.