Seven Defendants Indicted In Six Armed Robberies Of Cell Phone Stores In Chicago Suburbs, Indiana And Downstate Illinois
CHICAGO — Seven defendants were indicted on federal charges for their alleged roles in a series of at least six armed robberies of cellular telephone stores last year that extended from suburban Chicago to Indiana and downstate Illinois. Two defendants, ERIC ROGERS and ERIC CURTIS, who allegedly directed a robbery conspiracy, were arrested on federal charges in December following the robbery of a cellular telephone store in suburban Woodridge. The other five defendants, all of whom are in state custody, were charged federally for the first time in this district in a nine-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury yesterday and announced today.
Rogers, 39, of Hazel Crest, and Curtis, 29, of Park Forest, allegedly selected the stores that were robbed, recruited their co-defendants to participate in the robberies, provided them with firearms and other equipment, and paid them to commit armed robbery at their direction. They were each charged with one count of robbery conspiracy, three counts of robbery, and two counts of brandishing firearms, and Curtis alone was charged with being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Both remain in federal custody without bond.
Also indicted were: MARCUS HARRIS, 20, of Chicago; DANIEL WRIGHT, 28, of Chicago; ANDRE WADLINGTON-ANTHONY, 27, of Harvey; TONY JOHNSON, 20, of Harvey; and LAVELL HUGHES, 41, of Gary, Ind. Four of the five were charged with one count each of robbery and brandishing a firearm, while Wadlington-Anthony was charged with two counts of each of those crimes.
All seven will be arraigned on dates yet to be determined in U.S. District Court.
According to the indictment, the defendants in various combinations, committed the following armed robberies in 2013:
- Jan. 31 – Sprint store, 1323 West Lake St., Addison;
- Feb. 4 – AT&T store, LaPorte, Ind.;
- March 19 – AT&T store, 4155½ North Harlem, Norridge. Court documents allege the loss of approximately 100 phones and tablet computers valued at approximately $54,000 in this robbery;
- April 4 – Sprint store, East Peoria, Ill.;
- April 8 – T-Mobile, 110 South Waukegan Rd., Deerfield; and
- Dec. 14 – T-Mobile, 1001 West 75th St., Woodridge.
The indictment alleges that Rogers and Curtis also conspired with Rogers’ deceased cousin, Ryan Rogers, who, following the March 19 Norridge robbery, drove toward a Chicago police officer attempting to stop his vehicle and was shot and killed.
Each count of robbery carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and each count of brandishing a firearm carries a consecutive, mandatory minimum of seven years in prison and a maximum of life. Curtis also faces a maximum 10-years sentence on the felon-in-possession charge. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The indictment was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of the FBI and the Chicago Police Department. The police departments in Addison, Deerfield, Homewood, Norridge, Woodridge, LaPorte, Ind., and East Peoria, Ill., also assisted in the investigation.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Parente.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.