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Press Release

Chesapeake Man Sentenced for Five-Hour Armed Robbery Spree

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

NORFOLK, Va. – A Chesapeake man was sentenced yesterday to 29 years in prison for his role in a series of armed robberies of 7-Eleven establishments in the cities of Newport News, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach.

According to court documents, starting just before midnight on July 24, 2019, and into the early morning hours of July 25, 2019, Deric Simons, 23; his co-conspirator Ronald Lee Brookins, Jr., 22, of Suffolk; and a third individual conducted a series of armed robberies at 7-Eleven convenience stores. Beginning at a store in Newport News, the three men entered the stores armed with a firearm, a knife, and a BB gun that resembled a real firearm. While brandishing their weapons, they demanded U.S. currency and commercial products from frightened employees. After leaving Newport News, the three conspirators committed four additional robberies, moving between locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. During the fifth and final robbery, Brookins and the third co-conspirator entered the convenience store while Simons remained in the getaway vehicle. In addition to the store employee, there were three customers inside the store at the time of the robbery. Brookins and the third co-conspirator brandished the BB gun and the loaded firearm at the employee and customers. As Brookins began to empty the register, an armed customer, fearing for everyone’s safety, discharged his personal weapon, injuring Brookins and killing the third co-conspirator.

In June, Brookins was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the robberies.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police; Mark Talbot, Chief of Norfolk Police; and Paul Neudigate, Chief of Virginia Beach Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristin Bird and Megan Montoya prosecuted the 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:19-cr-168.

Updated September 28, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime