Newport News Man Convicted of Robbing Lonestar Steakhouse in Hampton
Steward planned the robbery with his girlfriend
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Christopher Steward, 24, of Newport News, Va, was convicted today following a three day jury trial on charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, and use, carry and brandish a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen.
Steward faces a maximum penalty of twenty years on the conspiracy conviction, twenty years on the robbery conviction, and a mandatory consecutive seven years in prison on the firearm conviction when he is sentenced on July 1, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
According to court records and evidence at trial, in June, 2014, two masked men entered the Lonestar Steakhouse in Hampton, Virginia armed with firearms. Various employees, as well as the infant child of an off duty employee were in the restaurant at the time. The robbery was planned by Cynthia Presley, a Lonestar employee, and her boyfriend, Christopher Steward. Presley advised Steward by text message as to the timing of the robbery which was passed onto Steward by two unknown conspirators. Presley pled guilty in December, 2014, and testified against Steward at trial. Presley was sentenced on March 10, 2015, to 87 months in prison.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as Norfolk and Hampton Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian J. Samuels, and Jennifer Sykes from the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Section, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:14CR75.