TOPEKA, KAN. – A Topeka man was sentenced today to 24 months in federal prison for robbing a health club, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
George Bernard Phelps, III, 31, Topeka, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of robbery. In his plea, he admitted that on Nov. 24, 2017, he and another man robbed the Genesis Health Club at 2909 Southwest 37th Street in Topeka.
A Genesis employee came upon the two defendants in the lobby of the business while they were attempting to pry open a box used for money deposits by members of the club. Phelps told the employee the robbers did not want trouble and instructed him to wait in an adjacent room. Phelps stood in the doorway of the room with his hand in the waistband of his pants as if he had a gun. The defendants removed cash and checks from the box and then fled.
When police arrived, an employee told officers that one of the robbers resembled a former employee of the business. Investigators identified co-defendant Lesley Jamar Terrell, Jr., 34, Topeka, Kan., a prior employee of the club who worked as an overnight maintenance worker. Terrell pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 28 months in prison.
McAllister commended the Topeka Police Department, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag for their work on the case.