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Press Release

Michigan Man Sentenced to 8 ½ Years in Prison for Robbing Ann Arbor Store in Broad Daylight

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

DETROIT – A federal judge sentenced Michigan resident Deon Bell today for robbing a T-Mobile store in downtown Ann Arbor, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced.

Ison was joined in the announcement by James Deir, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).

On October 10, 2022, Deon Bell, 27, of Detroit, Michigan, walked into a T-Mobile store in downtown Ann Arbor in the middle of the afternoon. He pulled out what appeared to be a gun and demanded that the two young employees take him to the safe, where he stole approximately $9,000 in smartphones and smartwatches. Bell also demanded the money from the register, stealing an additional $381. Before leaving the store, Bell told the employees to “have a blessed day.” But little did Bell know that the employees were a step ahead and gave him a decoy or tracker phone along with real merchandise, allowing law enforcement to track Bell from the T-Mobile to the store where he resold the goods.

This was just the most recent conviction for Bell, who has a long criminal history: drug dealing, carrying a concealed weapon, and criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree, among others. U.S. District Court Judge Nancy G. Edmunds sentenced Bell to 8 ½ years in prison, his longest sentence to date.

“Violence has no place in our community,” U.S. Attorney Ison said. “Pulling a gun on people just trying to make a living is a cowardly act, and our office is committed to taking dangerous people off the streets.”

“Mr. Bell’s violent behavior has no place in our community. Actions have consequences. Period. End of story. The moral of this story is: Use an illegal firearm to commit violent acts, and you should pack your bags for a very long and hopefully “blessed” stay in prison,” said Special Agent in Charge James Deir.

This case was investigated by agents from ATF and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Meghan Bean, Erin Ramamurthy, and Hank Moon. This investigation started with the Ann Arbor Police Department and Michigan State Police, who remained valuable partners throughout this case. We thank them for their teamwork and assistance.

Updated August 21, 2023