Robber Exiled to More Than Nine Years in Prison for Commercial Robberies
GREENBELT, MD—U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Cornelius Westly Jennings, Jr., age 27, of Washington, D.C., today to 111 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for a conspiracy to rob two businesses and for using a firearm during a crime of violence.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Director in Charge Andrew G. McCabe of the Federal Bureau of Investigation—Washington Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief Cathy L. Lanier of the Metropolitan Police Department; Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; Chief Michael E. Scott of the Mount Rainier Police Department; and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh.
According to Jennings’ plea agreement, on May 31 and September 19, 2012, Jennings and his co-conspirators committed three robberies of fast food restaurants. Jennings’ role in the conspiracy included driving his co-conspirators to the robbery site, conducting surveillance of the businesses prior to the robberies, planning the robberies with his co-conspirators, knowing that at least one co-conspirator would be armed with a gun, entering the businesses and participating in the robberies, and receiving a portion of the proceeds of the robberies.
Specifically, on May 31, 2012, Jennings, Anthony Akrah Morris, and Tiffany Edmundson, robbed a fast food restaurant located in the 15000 block of Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville, Maryland. The robbers wore masks and Jennings was armed with a handgun, which was brandished at employees in the store. The co-conspirators forced employees to open the restaurant’s safe and stole $1,400 from the safe. The robbers fled in a vehicle being driving by another co-conspirator who was acting as a lookout. Co-conspirator Chavez Tyrone Smith was also in the vehicle.
On September 19, 2012, Jennings drove Morris and another co-conspirator to the same fast food restaurant in Burtonsville that he robbed on May 31, 2012. Morris and the other co-conspirator, both armed with guns, entered to restaurant and brandished the guns at individuals inside the restaurant. The co-conspirators forced employees to open the safe and stole $657 in cash, then fled to the vehicle in which Jennings was waiting. Jennings then drove to another fast food restaurant in the 4000 block of Powder Mill Road in Beltsville, where Morris and the co-conspirator again robbed the restaurant, brandishing their firearms at persons in the restaurant. Morris and the co-conspirator took $105 from the restaurant cash registers. After forcing employees to open the safe, Morris and the co-conspirator stole another $900 from the safe. The co-conspirators again ran to the car where Jennings was waiting and Jennings drove away.
Jennings admitted that he received a portion of the money stolen in the three robberies.
Anthony Akrah Morris, age 25, of Burtonsville, Maryland, was convicted after trial and sentenced to 505 months in prison for conspiring to commit robbery, two counts of robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm during a robbery. Chavez Tyrone Smith, age 36, of Washington, D.C., previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob two businesses and to using a firearm during a crime of violence and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Tiffany Edmundson, age 26, of Greenbelt, Maryland, has pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 15, 2015, at 1:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Prince George’s County Police Department, Metropolitan Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, Mount Rainier Police Department and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office and Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance and coordination. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Thomas M. Sullivan, who prosecuted the case.