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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 24, 2022

Serial Armed Robber Sentenced to Over 25 Years in Federal Prison for Violent Robberies of Local Businesses

INDIANAPOLIS – Irving Gomez, a/k/a John Mendez-Rodriquez, 29, of Indianapolis, was sentenced late yesterday to 303 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to committing three commercial robberies and brandishing a firearm during those crimes of violence.

According to court documents, on January 24, 2021, Gomez entered an O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store in Indianapolis, brandished a loaded rifle at the employees, and demanded money from the store’s safe and registers. After receiving the money, Gomez fled the business. The employees at the store recognized the robber as possibly being Irving Gomez, a former employee. 

On February 6, 2021, Gomez entered a CVS in Indianapolis, brandished a rifle at an employee and demanded money from the cash register. Gomez hit the employee several times with the muzzle of the rifle when the employee did not immediately comply with his demands. The employee then opened the cash register drawer, and Gomez fled the store with the stolen money.

On March 1, 2021, Gomez returned to the same O’Reilly Auto Parts store in Indianapolis wearing the same clothing he wore during his previous robbery of the store. Gomez again brandished a rifle and demanded money from employees. During the robbery, an employee grabbed the rifle and pinned Gomez against a nearby wall, leading Gomez to lose control of the rifle. Gomez then grabbed a metal rod from the wall and struck the employee over the head multiple times. During the struggle Gomez brandished a pocketknife and attempted to stab the employee, but the employee was able to disarm Gomez. Gomez then threatened the employee by telling him that he would kill him and his family if he did not let him go. Officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department arrived and took Gomez into custody.

Evidence was presented during the sentencing hearing that the defendant committed two additional robberies of CVS stores in the Indianapolis area on January 30 and February 20, 2021, and Gomez was ordered by the Court to pay restitution to those establishments.

“Mr. Gomez chose to engage in a series of violent attacks against innocent victims,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers. “Along with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to concentrate our efforts on identifying and arresting those individuals that commit or threaten violence while engaging in this type of illegal activity. The serious sentence imposed today should send a message that violent offenders who disrupt the safety of our communities will be held accountable for their actions.”

“I would like to thank the IMPD officers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Attorney’s Office for getting Mr. Gomez off the streets of Indianapolis. A violent perpetrator is behind bars, and our community safer because of their due diligence and hard work,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. “This case is just the latest example of the value our federal partners bring to fighting violent crime. May the affected families get the peace they deserve.”

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department investigated the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation provided valuable assistance. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge James R. Sweeney II. As part of the sentence, Judge Sweeney II ordered that the defendant be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 5 years following his release from federal prison and was ordered to pay $4,325.00 in restitution, reflecting losses relating to five separate robberies.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence D. Hilton who prosecuted this case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement, and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated March 24, 2022