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Press Release

Philadelphia Man Sentenced to 12+ Years for Gunpoint Robbery of East Mount Airy Corner Store

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

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced today that Donnie Smith, 41, of Philadelphia, PA was sentenced to 12 years and three months in prison, and five years of supervised release, by United States District Court Judge Jan E. DuBois for Hobbs Act robbery, carrying and using a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and illegally possessing a weapon as a convicted felon. The charges stem from an armed robbery of a corner grocery store in the East Mount Airy section of Philadelphia in March 2019.

In February 2020, the defendant and two co-defendants, Abid Stevens and Maurice Quinn, were convicted on all charges after trial. During the incident, Quinn entered RD Grocery and complained to a store employee that the store’s ATM had given him fake money. Quinn then attempted to grab both money from the register and a firearm kept by the owner behind the counter. Unable to grab the money or firearm, Quinn left and returned with Smith and Stevens, both of whom were armed with black semi-automatic handguns. Smith brandished his firearm in the store employee’s face and took the firearm from behind the counter. Quinn then again attempted to take cash from the register but failed. He demanded that the store employee open the register for him; the employee withdrew $100 in cash and the defendants left.

“The defendants were so determined to rob this store, that the first would-be robber brazenly returned with armed reinforcements after failing to accomplish his goal on his own,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “His complete disregard for others and for the law is shocking. Hopefully others will learn from Smith’s example -- if you rob a store in Philadelphia with a firearm, you are going to face serious federal prison time as a result. Our Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring criminals like Smith to justice.”

“The imposition of this sentence by the court sends an important message that there are significant consequences for committing acts of violence within our community. The dedicated law enforcement personnel responsible for investigating and prosecuting this defendant should be commended for bringing closure to those personally affected by the crime, as well as protecting the entire community,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division.  “The robust partnership between ATF and the Philadelphia Police Department led to a quick arrest, undoubtedly preventing additional violence and harm to the community. I would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for their work in prosecuting this case.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Eckert and Special Assistant United States Attorney Ashley N. Martin.


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Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Updated February 22, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime