Blue Springs Man Pleads Guilty to Armed Robbery Conspiracy
KANSAS CITY, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Blue Springs, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to commit several armed robberies at restaurants in the metropolitan area.
Isiah G. Etienne, 20, of Blue Springs, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to participating in the robbery conspiracy, to committing robbery and to using a firearm in a crime of violence while aiding and abetting another person.
Co-defendants Jeremy Hunter, also known as “Heat,” 25, and Renargo L. Martin, 46, both of Kansas City, Mo., and Mikah M. Labayen, 20, of Blue Springs, have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and to related charges.
By pleading guilty today, Etienne admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to rob several fast food restaurants in the Kansas City area in the fall of 2014. Etienne and Labayen were employed at a Chipotle restaurant in Blue Springs. Using their knowledge of procedures commonly used by such establishments, conspirators would wait until the end of a business day, and then rob restaurants by waiting until an employee opened a door to take trash out of the premises. They rushed the door to gain access, and then forced the manager or shift supervisor to give them access to the restaurant’s safe. Conspirators threatened restaurant employees with an assault rifle in order to force their cooperation.
Etienne admitted that he robbed a Chipotle restaurant in Lee’s Summit, Mo., on Nov. 3, 2014, taking $1,600; a Burger King restaurant in Independence, Mo., on Nov. 10, 2014, taking $914 and again on Nov. 30, 2014, taking $565; and a Chipotle restaurant in Blue Springs on Nov. 16, 2014, taking $6,800.
Following these robberies, Etienne and Labayen were captured after an attempted robbery of a motel.
Hunter admitted that he participated in one of the robberies, and loaned his assault rifle to co-conspirators to use in several other robberies in exchange for part of the proceeds. Martin admitted that he drove Hunter to the Blue Springs Chipotle on Nov. 16, 2014. Hunter and Martin were given access to that restaurant’s back door by Labayen, an employee of the restaurant. Armed with his assault rifle, Hunter forced the restaurant employees to the ground as he kicked the door into the manager’s office. Once in the manager’s office, Hunter ordered the supervisor to open the safe and put all the money into a green duffle bag.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Etienne is subject to a sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Edwards. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Lee’s Summit, Mo., Police Department, the Blue Springs, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.