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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 3, 2014

Woman Pleads Guilty And Sentenced To 28 Years In Prison For Armed Robbery Of Belleville Jack-In-The-Box

Case Is One of Many Prosecuted As Part of United States Attorney Wigginton’s Armed Robbery Initiative

Yulonda Stewart, 29, plead guilty and was sentenced to 28 years in prison today on a three-count indictment charging her with Interference with Commerce by Robbery, Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today. The Armed Robbery count arises from the federal Hobbs Act, which makes it a crime to obstruct, delay or affect interstate commerce by robbery, and is used by United States Attorney Wigginton as a way to combat armed robbery in the Southern District of Illinois. Following her prison sentence, Stewart will be on federal supervised release for 5 years. Stewart has been in custody since her arrest on December 9, 2012.

“I will continue to fight these armed robberies with all of my resources.” United States Attorney Wigginton noted. “People in Southern Illinois should be able to patronize restaurants and convenience stores without fear of these robbers. As Ms. Stewart found, she will serve almost as much time in federal prison as she has been on this earth. The message is clear – Stop this Violence, or face the consequences of spending decades in federal prisons far from your homes, families, and friends.”

A factual stipulation filed with the Court revealed that on December 9, 2012 at approximately 8:20 p.m., Stewart entered the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant located in Belleville, Illinois armed with fully loaded black Hi-Point 9 mm pistol. Stewart pointed the firearm at the four employees present and forced them to the back of the restaurant where the safe was located. Stewart ordered the store manager to open the safe and place all of the money in a paper bag while she ordered the other employees to lie on the floor. As the manager removed the money from the safe, Belleville Police officers arrived and ordered Stewart to drop the firearm. Stewart was then taken into custody at gunpoint. The sentencing judge characterized Stewart as “the most violent woman he has sentenced since he has been a judge.”

This investigation was conducted by the Belleville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ali Summers.

Updated February 19, 2015