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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Federal Jury Convicts Memphis Man for Armed Business Robbery and Illegal Possession of Stolen Firearms

Memphis, TN –After a four-day jury trial, Samuel Culp, 21, was found guilty Hobbs Act Business robbery, brandishing and discharging a firearm during a robbery, and possession of stolen firearms. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the guilty verdict today.

According to information presented in court, on the morning of July 12, 2018, Stacy Houston, Samuel Culp, and a third suspect entered the Pawn Plus pawnshop on Winchester Road in Memphis armed with firearms. The men pointed their guns at the 84-year old manager and one customer who was inside the business. They ordered both men on the ground and struck the manager in the head with a firearm when he did not move fast enough. The men took a total of 47 firearms and assorted jewelry, including rings and a Rolex watch, as well as the cash from the pocket of the elderly manager.

As the men were fleeing the business, one of them fired shots at an employee who was outside the business calling 911. The employee’s vehicle was hit, but he avoided injury. Houston and Culp proceeded thereafter to traffic the stolen firearms throughout the city. During the resulting investigation, ATF agents recovered several stolen firearms. At the time of his arrest, Culp was found in possession of two of the firearms stolen during the robbery, as well as a bag of stolen jewelry. A duffle bag containing seven additional stolen firearms was recovered from Culp’s mother’s home on the following day.

The jury found Culp guilty of all counts as charged in the indictment. Sentencing is scheduled for November 8, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker. Culp faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for the Hobbs Act business robbery, a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of 7 years for the brandishing count, and a maximum sentence of 10 years for the theft from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) and possession of the stolen firearms.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Armed business robbery that threatens and harms store owners must be dealt with swiftly and certainly. Likewise, the theft of dozens of firearms is especially dangerous, and threatens the lives of countless citizens. We are thankful that many of the stolen firearms were recovered due to the quick action and outstanding investigation by federal law enforcement. Any robbery of a FFL will be met with aggressive prosecution in order to protect public safety."

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Hartridge prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

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Contact: 
Cherri Green Public Affairs Cherri.green@usdoj.gov (901) 544-4231
Updated August 13, 2019