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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 28, 2019

Three Houston Men Charged in Various Houston Violent Crimes

HOUSTON – A federal grand jury has returned two separate indictments charging a total of three men in two armed crime sprees of Houston-area commercial businesses, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. In one instance, two juveniles working at a Subway restaurant were robbed at gunpoint. The cases are being investigated and prosecuted as part of the recently announced Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Crime Gun Strike Force.

Devante Blackmon, 19, is set to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances H. Stacy at 10:00 a.m. today. He is charged in the armed robbery of a local Dollar Tree store along with Stafford Polk, 22. Polk is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest.

Blackmon and Polk are charged with armed robbery and using firearms in during crimes of violence.

Both are charged with Feb. 22, 2019, armed robbery of the Dollar tree store located at 5360 West 34th Street, in Houston. The defendants allegedly pointed a gun at several store employees and stole money before fleeing as the police arrived.

Blackmon is charged with two additional robberies of local cell phone stores. On May 20, 2018, Blackmon allegedly confronted a store employee who was working at the Metro PCS store located at 7303 Breen Drive in Houston. The indictment alleges Blackmon brandished the weapon and robbed the employee of money and cellular phones at gunpoint. On June 15, 2018, Blackmon also allegedly committed the armed robbery of the Boost Mobile store located at 12151 Northwest Freeway in Houston. Again, Blackmon allegedly brandished his gun and stole money and cellular phones at gunpoint. 

In a separate, but similar case, Russell Pittman aka Randon Booth, 26, of Houston, allegedly committed three separate armed robberies of commercial businesses, including robberies of a Subway restaurant and two cell phone stores, during which he stole U.S. currency and cellular phones before fleeing.

On Feb. 15, 2018, Pittman allegedly confronted two juveniles who were working at the Subway restaurant located at 10086 Long Point Road in Houston. The indictment alleges Pittman brandished the weapon and robbed the employees of money at gunpoint. 

The indictment alleges Pittman committed another armed robbery of the Boost Mobile store located at 2323 South Kirkwood in Houston. Again. He brandished his gun and stole money and cellular phones at gunpoint, according to the charges. Less than a month later, he allegedly also robbed the Cell Phone Zone located at 7111 Harwin Drive in Houston. During that robbery, Pittman pointed the gun at several store employees and stole money and cellular phones, the charges allege.   

Pittman appeared in federal court March 18, 2019, at which time Judge Stacy ordered be held in custody pending further criminal proceedings.

Pittman and Blackmon are bot charged with three counts of interference with commerce by robbery and three counts of using and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Polk is charged with one count each of the same crimes.

If convicted, the defendants faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the robbery charges. The firearm offenses alleged in the robberies carry a mandatory minimum term of seven years to life for each offense, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed.  Each conviction also carries the possibility of a $250,000 maximum fine.  

ATF and Houston Police Department conducted both investigations, now part of the ATF Crime Gun Strike Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Mellin is prosecuting the cases.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated April 3, 2019