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Press Release

Charlotte Man Is Sentenced To 22 Years In Prison For The Armed Robbery Of Two Cell Phone Retail Stores

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced Rashawn William Coleman, 24, of Charlotte, to 22 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for the armed robbery of two cell phone retail stores, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Michael C. Scherck, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina, Chief Chad Hawkins of the Belmont Police Department, and Chief Johnny Jennings of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to court documents and the sentencing hearing, on June 27, 2020, the Belmont Police Department responded to a service call for an armed robbery at the Cricket Wireless store located at 617 Park Street, in Belmont, North Carolina. Upon arriving at the location, a store employee told law enforcement that an individual, later identified as Coleman, entered the store posing as a customer and inquired about purchasing a cell phone. Over the course of their exchange, Coleman asked if there were any lower priced phones available. While the employee was in the back of the store looking through the cell phone inventory, he saw Coleman standing in the doorway pointing a gun at him. Coleman then ordered the employee to hand over all of the iPhones and other high valued cell phones. Court records show that Coleman also ordered the employee to load the store’s safe in Coleman’s vehicle before fleeing the scene.

On July 29, 2020, the Belmont Police Department responded to a service call regarding the armed robbery of an AT&T Wireless store located at 6509 Wilkinson Boulevard in Belmont. Responding officers investigating the robbery interviewed a store employee who said she had been robbed at gun point. The employee explained that at approximately 7:37 p.m., an individual later identified as Coleman entered the store and began to inquire about purchasing a cell phone. While the employee was at the computer looking through available inventory, Coleman came around the counter and pointed a firearm at her. Coleman then ordered the store employee to place all the cell phones from the safe in his bag. Coleman then fled the scene in his vehicle.

Following the robbery, CMPD officers located Coleman driving his vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Coleman did not obey and attempted to evade the police before he was arrested. Inside Coleman’s vehicle, law enforcement located the stolen cell phones, a firearm, and a magazine that contained 15 bullets.

On December 13, 2021, Coleman pleaded guilty to two counts of possession and brandishing of a firearm during, in relation to, and in furtherance of a crime of violence. He is currently in custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked the FBI, the Belmont Police Department, and CMPD for their investigation of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hess of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.

Updated September 28, 2022

Violent Crime
Firearms Offenses