Kankakee Man to Serve 19 Years in Prison for Robbery of Champaign, Kankakee Businesses
URBANA, Ill. – A Kankakee, Ill., man, Thomas James, 33, of the 500 block of S. Indiana Ave., has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for robberies of businesses in Champaign and Kankakee in July and August 2016. James’s sentencing hearing was held on Dec. 8, in Urbana. James was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $32,121, and to remain on supervised release for three years following his release from prison. James has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since February 2017, when he was indicted by a federal grand jury.
On June 21, James entered pleas of guilty to the robbery of the Sprint store at 2706 N. Prospect Ave., in Champaign, on July 28, 2016, and the Circle K at 581 S. Indiana Ave., in Kankakee, on Aug. 6, 2016. Both robberies were charged under the federal statute known as the Hobbs Act, for interference with interstate commerce by threats or violence. The indictment alleges that threats of violence were used to take cell phones and electronic devices from the Sprint store and to take cigarettes and currency from the Circle K. In addition, James used a HiPoint 9mm handgun during the robbery of the Circle K. At the time he possessed the handgun, James was a felon prohibited from possession of a firearm.
James’s sentence consists of 12 years in prison for the robberies to be served concurrent with the maximum 10-year sentence for possession of a firearm by a felon. For brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, the penalty is a mandatory minimum seven years in prison to be served consecutive to any sentence ordered for the underlying crime of violence.
The charges were investigated by the FBI; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Champaign Police Department; Kankakee Police Department; Illinois State Police; KAMEG; Alton Police Department; and, the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Freres prosecuted the case on behalf of the Urbana Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois.