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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

Friday, September 6, 2013

Defendant Sentenced For Role In Fast Food Business Robbery

A Detroit resident was sentenced today to 9 ½ years’ imprisonment for charges involving armed robbery and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.  Ms. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Acting Special Agent in Charge John Robert Shoup, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

 Jamal Muhammad, 29, of Detroit, was sentenced today by U.S. Chief District Court Judge Gerald E. Rosen after previously pleading guilty on May 3, 2013. Muhammad received two and a half years for robbing the Hungry Howies Pizzeria in Ferndale, Michigan, to be followed by a mandatory minimum seven years consecutive sentence for the possession of the firearm in furtherance of the robbery offense.

During 2008, there were a rash of robberies of fast food establishments in Detroit and its surrounding suburbs of Oak Park, Ferndale, Dearborn, and Redford. The businesses included a Subway, several Little Caesars, a Hungry Howies, a Long John Silvers, and a Wendy's to name a few. Guns were usually brandished during the robberies which typically involved two armed robbers entering the establishment, pulling firearms, and demanding cash from the registers and/or safe while an accomplice waited outside in the getaway vehicle. On one occasion the patrons inside a Wendy's restaurant, located in Detroit at Livernois and Eight Mile Road, were robbed of their personal possessions too.      The police agencies in these respective cities noted similarities between the various robberies including the manner of dress of the robbers.  There were two unique "hoodies" worn during the robberies. One had a skeletal-like design on the chest area, and the other had a web-like design on its chest area. Hence, law enforcement dubbed them the "Spiderman Crew." In addition, the hood of each hoodie zipped from the back portion of the hood all the way down below the front chest portion. Each hoodie, once zipped, had a built in mask that enclosed and hid the wearer's face behind a built-in dark mesh material.

Muhammad was not a participant in the Wendy's robbery mentioned above, which was the final robbery of the group. However, two group members arrested following the Wendy’s robbery were also involved in the Hungry Howie’s robbery with Muhammad. The robbery participants were apprehended in Detroit, while in possession of the hoodies and the robbery proceeds, after a brief chase and traffic stop moments after the Wendy’s robbery. The robbers present inside the getaway vehicle were Elisha Whitehead, Anthony Sampson, and Elan Andrews. Whitehead pleaded guilty to robberies of the Detroit Wendy’s, the Ferndale Hungry Howie’s, a Dearborn Little Caesar’s and a Detroit Long John Silver’s.  Sampson pleaded guilty to robberies of the Detroit Wendy’s, a Detroit Popeye’s and a Ferndale Subway.  Both are awaiting sentencing, while Andrews is awaiting an October trial date for robberies of the Detroit Wendy’s, Ferndale Hungry Howie’s, a Ferndale Subway and Little Caesar’s restaurants in Oak Park, Redford and Dearborn.

The case was the result of multi-agency cooperation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, the Michigan State Police, the Oak Park Police, the Ferndale Police, the Dearborn Police, the Redford Police, the Detroit Police Department, and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Terrence R. Haugabook with collaboration from Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Joe Jansen.

Updated March 19, 2015