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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Delaware

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Armed Robbers Sentenced to 15+ Years In Prison

Two men combined to rob twenty stores in three months

WILMINGTON, Del. – Two men who robbed twenty stores in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland were sentenced today.  Chief U.S. District Court Judge Leonard P. Stark sentenced Michael Kolmonen to 15 years in prison and Brian Branch to 16½ years in prison.

In the summer and fall of 2016, Branch and Kolmonen combined to rob twenty (20) stores, almost all of them together.  In almost every robbery, Branch entered the store, brandished a gun, and demanded money from the register.  The two men victimized thirty (30) people, most of whom were teenagers or the elderly.  The victims were as young as 17 and as old as 76 years old.  They robbed:

1.         BP, 2360 Pulaski Highway, New Castle, DE

2.         Walgreens 4114 Ogletown-Stanton Rd, Newark, DE

3.         Walgreens 1500 Beaverbrook Plaza, New Castle, DE

4.         Walgreens 2608 Naamans Creek Road, Boothwyn, PA

5.         Walgreens 19 Marrows Road, Newark, DE

6.         Rite Aid 738 Pulaski Highway, Elkton, MD

7.         Walgreens 2719 Pulaski Highway, Newark, DE

8.         Walgreens 372 Possum Park Road, Newark, DE

9.         CVS 366 East Chestnut Hill Road, Newark, DE

10.       CVS 1545 Pulaski Highway, Bear, Newark, DE

11.       Dunkirk Liquors 2 Dunlinden Drive, Wilmington, DE

12.       Walgreens 1508 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE

13.       Walgreens 1120 Pulaski Highway, Bear, Newark, DE

14.       Walgreens 2608 Naamans Creek Road, Boothwyn, PA

15.       Walgreens 301 East Pulaski Highway, Elkton, MD

16.       Rite Aid 501 East Basin Road, New Castle, DE

17.       Papa John’s 529 East Basin Road, New Castle, DE

18.       Rite Aid 4607 Stanton-Ogletown Road, Newark, DE

19.       CVS 366 East Chestnut Hill Road, Newark, DE 

20.       Valero Shore Stop, 796 N. Old Baltimore Pike, New Castle, DE

In sentencing the defendants, Chief Judge Stark stated that the defendants engaged in a “reign of terror for several months and both defendants had equal roles in it.” 

“These robberies were particularly brazen; the defendants robbed stores in broad daylight and their victims were often the most vulnerable among us—employees whose only crime was trying to make a living,” U.S. Attorney Weiss said. “This case was cracked because of the outstanding work of the Delaware State Police and the FBI Baltimore, Wilmington Office.  They, like our office, are dedicated to rooting out violent crime and catching anyone who threatens our communities.”   

Colonel Nathaniel McQueen Jr., Superintendent of the Delaware State Police shared, “The sentencing hearings were centered around the victims, and the lasting effect that these violent crimes had and will continue to have on their lives going forward.  The investigation, arrest and successful prosecution of these individuals was a direct result of our continued partnerships with federal, state, and local jurisdictions in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  There is no doubt that the open communication and coordination of resources throughout these agencies prevented others from being victimized.”

"Serial armed robbers like Mr. Kolmonen and Branch require more than ever close collaboration between the FBI and our local and state law enforcement partners to bring them to justice," said Gordon B. Johnson, Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore FBI. “I am extremely proud of the collaborative effort put forth in order to ensure these defendant were brought to justice and will no longer be able to terrorize or threaten the hardworking citizens and businesses in both Delaware and Pennsylvania. The citizens of Delaware have the FBI’s commitment that we will work with our local, state and federal partners to remove violent criminals from their neighborhoods.”

This case was investigated by the FBI Baltimore, Wilmington Office, the Delaware State Police, Upper Darby (PA) Police Department, and Elkton (MD) Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander S. Mackler prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated August 30, 2018