Belleville Man Pleads Guilty to Armed Robbery of Circle K Gas Station
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 23, 2013|
A Belleville, Illinois man pled guilty in federal district court to two counts of armed robbery on October 21, 2013, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.
London Brown, 21, of Belleville, Illinois, pled guilty to an indictment charging him with two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, which makes it a crime to obstruct, delay, or affect interstate commerce by robbery. Robbery is defined in the statute as the “unlawful taking or obtaining of personal property from the person...of another, against his will, by means of actual or threatened force or violence, or fear of injury, immediate or future, to his person....” Brown also pled guilty to a third count of the indictment, which charged him with brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.
A factual stipulation filed with the court indicates that the charges relate to separate robberies of a Circle K gas station in Belleville, Illinois, which occurred on July 22, 2013 and August 15, 2013. In both robberies, Brown pointed a rifle at the Circle K clerk on duty and demanded that the clerk give him the money in the cash register. The July robbery netted Brown only $100; the August robbery netted him only $358. These sums were proceeds of sales of goods that had moved in interstate commerce. It was the custom of Circle K to deposit the funds into a bank account in Belleville; such funds were then transmitted by interstate wire to the corporation’s bank in Indiana. The parent company of the Circle K is headquartered in Indiana. Thus, these robberies obstructed, delayed, and affected commerce.
Following the August 15 robbery, the Circle K clerk alerted the Belleville Police, who spotted Brown in flight, carrying the rifle. A foot chase ensued, and police caught Brown hiding in some bushes in a residential area several blocks from the Circle K. Police also located and confiscated the rifle that Brown used in the robberies. Brown confessed to police, admitting that he had committed the two robberies and admitting that he had possessed and brandished the rifle that police recovered. He told police that he had intended to use some of the proceeds from the robberies to pay his girlfriend’s telephone bill.
“I announced back on September 12 that I was initializing a group of federal, local, and state law enforcement agencies to pursue these types of cases in an Armed Robbery Suppression Initiative, similar to the Major Case Squad investigating and solving its cases. This is the first plea of guilty out of that effort. It will not be the last,” noted United States Attorney Wigginton. “I will continue to creatively use all of the resources at my disposal to enhance the safety of all of the citizens of southern Illinois.”
The maximum penalties that can be imposed for each robbery count are 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both; three years of supervised release; and a $100 special assessment. The firearm brandishing charge carries an additional minimum seven years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other sentence that the court may impose. The court may also impose a maximum fine on the firearms count of $250,000, and a special assessment of $100.
Sentencing is set for January 24, 2013, at 10:30 a.m.
The case was investigated by members of the Belleville Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen B. Clark.