ROCKFORD — A man has been sentenced to ten years in federal prison in connection with a series of retail store robberies in Illinois and Indiana.
In 2016 and 2017, CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR and his co-conspirators carried out two violent robberies and one attempted robbery, using firearms and pepper spray to terrorize store employees and security guards while stealing laptops, iPads, smart watches, and cell phones. During the robberies, Taylor or his co-conspirators physically assaulted and restrained the employees and security guards.
Taylor, 25, of Chicago, pleaded guilty last year to robbery and attempted robbery charges. U.S. District Judge Philip G. Reinhard imposed the ten-year sentence Wednesday after a hearing in federal court in Rockford.
The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The Rockford Police Department assisted in the investigation. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Ladd.
Taylor admitted in a plea agreement that on Aug. 5, 2016, he attempted to rob a Best Buy store in Burbank, Ill. Taylor drove a stolen vehicle to the store along with three co-conspirators. Members of the group entered the store and attempted to steal two laptop computers. The group fled in the stolen vehicle, crashing into numerous vehicles during their flight.
On Dec. 16, 2016, Taylor traveled with eight co-conspirators to the Cherry Valley Simply Mac store in Cherry Valley, Ill. Taylor’s co-conspirators forced the employees to the back of the store, pepper sprayed one of them, and stole two computers. Taylor, who was waiting outside, punched an employee who was returning to the store as the robbery was occurring, and then took the employee’s cell phone.
On Dec. 17, 2016, Taylor and his co-conspirators traveled to the Valparaiso Simply Mac store in Valparaiso, Ind., and entered the store with a gun. The group disarmed a security guard, forced the employees and security guard to a back room, and tied them up using zip ties. Taylor, along with his co-conspirators, carried out $69,500 worth of stolen merchandise.