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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Alton Man Sentenced For Aiding And Abetting An Armed Robbery

Case is one of many brought as a result of United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton’s Metro-East Armed Robbery Initiative

An Alton, Illinois, man was sentenced on May 22, 2014, on the charge that he and his co-defendant, Taylor C. Harkey, aided and abetted each other in the commission of an Armed Robbery, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. The Armed Robbery count is a federal “Hobbs Act Robbery.” The Hobbs Act makes it a crime to obstruct, delay, or affect interstate commerce by robbery, and is used by United States Attorney Wigginton’s office as a way to combat armed robbery in the Southern District of Illinois.

Ramone C. Cunningham, 30, was sentenced to a term of 170 months in federal prison, to be followed by a term of supervised release of 3 years, fined $750, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. Cunningham has been held without bond since his initial appearance on December 3, 2013.

The offense occurred on July 18, 2013, when Cunningham and his co-defendant, Harkey, were at her residence discussing ways in which to get “quick money.” At Cunningham’s suggestion, Harkey and Cunningham devised a plan to rob a cab driver by using another individual’s cellular telephone to call Comfort Cab to have a cab sent to a vacant residence in Alton. The two parked in an alley near the vacant house. Prior to committing the robbery, Cunningham provided Harkey with a small black CO2 .177 caliber BB gun which appeared to be a real firearm.

While Harkey got out of the car and approached the cab, the cab driver, having noticed that the residence was vacant, notified his dispatcher who told him to wait while they tried to contact the original caller. Harkey reached through the open rear driver’s side window and pointed the gun at the cab driver’s head, stating “Give me your money or I’ll blow your brains out.” Harkey also reached inside the cab and grabbed the cab driver’s company cellular telephone. The driver threw $36.00, consisting of cab fares, out of the window. As Harkey bent down to pick up the money, the cab driver drove away. He was able to contact Comfort Cab to report that he had just been robbed. Comfort Cab subsequently called the Alton Police Department. Using the original number that was used to call the cab, the officers were able to identify Harkey. Both Harkey and Cunningham were arrested Harkey’s residence. The BB gun given to Harkey to use during the robbery was recovered from under the mattress of one of her children. Both Cunningham and Harkey admitted their role in the robbery of the Comfort Cab driver.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Michael J. Reagan noted that Cunningham was a repeat robber, as well as having additional criminal history. Judge Reagan also noted that robberies of cab drivers and pizza delivery drivers are crimes of opportunities because, due to their occupations, they are available at night almost anywhere. He remarked upon some of the security measures that have been implemented in cabs in order to protect cab drivers, such as the installation of bullet-proof plexi-glass windows between the cab driver and passenger, because of the prevalence of these types of robberies.

The case was investigated by the Alton, Illinois, Police Department. The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.

Updated February 19, 2015