Man Convicted of Armed Robbery of East St. Louis Pawn Shop and Armed Robbery of Belleville Liquor Store
United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton announced today that Timothy R. Collier, 48, of Centreville, Illinois was convicted in the United States District Court on November 12, 2014, of all five charges for the armed robbery and shooting of an East St. Louis pawn shop owner that occurred on April 25, 2013, and the robbery of a Belleville liquor store that occurred three months later on July 12, 2013. The verdict was announced after a six-day jury trial.
According to Court documents, Collier was indicted on November 20, 2013 with Interference with Commerce by Robbery (“Hobbs Act robbery”), Carry and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm in connection with the armed robbery of East St. Louis Jewelry and Loan as well as with Interference with Commerce by Robbery (“Hobbs Act robbery”) and Carry and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence in connection with the armed robbery of Arena Liquor in Belleville. Collier pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. Trial commenced on November 3, 2014. United States Attorney Wigginton has made use of several federal statutes in his initiative to curb the violent armed robberies occurring in the metro-east.
Evidence presented at trial established that on April 25, 2013, Collier entered the East St. Louis Jewelry and Loan armed with a silver revolver and pointed it at the owner of the business. As the owner reached for his own firearm in defense of himself, Collier fired several shots from his revolver which struck the owner in the hand, shoulder and chest, causing him to fall to the counter. Collier then stood on top of the counter, pointed the revolver to the back of the owner’s head directly behind his ear and fired a final shot. As a result of the shooting, the store owner is paralyzed and wheelchair-bound for life. Collier took hundreds of women’s rings and other items of jewelry, as well as cash and a .357 revolver belonging to the store owner. Although Collier was not immediately apprehended, the entire robbery and shooting was recorded on the store’s video surveillance which captured Collier’s face during the robbery and as he fled the store.
Three months later, on July 12, 2013, Collier conspired with his niece, Charmonequette Reynolds, and another associate, Roderick Taylor, to rob Arena Liquor in Belleville, Illinois. Reynolds, acting as the getaway driver, drove Collier and Taylor in her gold Grand Am to an area near Arena Liquor where the two men exited the vehicle armed with a silver revolver and a black and silver .40 caliber handgun. Collier and Taylor entered Arena Liquor, pointed the two firearms at the two individuals working in the store and demanded all of the money from the cash registers. Collier and Taylor left the liquor store with a large sum of United States currency and a cell phone belonging to one of the victims, returned to the getaway vehicle, and the three fled from the scene.
A witness driving near Arena Liquor noticed Collier and Taylor running from the store and followed them as they ran several blocks to the getaway vehicle. The witness recorded the license plates of Reynolds’ gold Grand Am and gave the number to Belleville Police officers. Reynolds was identified and apprehended within hours of the robbery. During a recorded interview, Reynolds admitted her involvement in the planning and participation in the armed robbery of Arena Liquor and identified Collier and Roderick Taylor as the two gunmen. Roderick Taylor was arrested later that same day and also admitted during a recorded interview to his participation in the armed robbery of Arena Liquor and identified Collier as the second gun man.
In recorded interviews of Reynolds and Taylor, both individuals identified Collier as the person seen in the surveillance video committing the robbery and shooting at the East St. Louis Jewelry and Loan on April 25, 2013. Reynolds and Taylor both testified that Collier had told them details about the robbery and shooting that occurred at the East St. Louis pawn shop and Reynolds testified that the day before the robbery she had agreed to be Collier’s getaway driver but was unable to follow through she was arrested that morning. Evidence at trial also included the testimony of Collier’s step-son, who testified that Collier had asked him to participate in the robbery of the East St. Louis pawn shop, which he refused, and that Collier admitted to him that he shot the owner during the robbery after a struggle at the counter. Collier’s step-son also testified that Collier attempted to sell him the .357 revolver Collier stole from the store owner. The silver revolver and the black and silver .40 caliber handgun used to commit the two robberies were recovered by law enforcement after Collier’s girlfriend admitted that she gave the two guns to two of Collier’s childhood friends to hide after Collier’s arrest. The silver revolver Collier used in the robbery and shooting of the owner of the East St. Louis pawn shop was turned over to law enforcement officers by Collier’s best friend who admitted during trial that he had been hiding the gun for Collier. Forensic analysis of the silver revolver performed by the Illinois State Police Forensic Crime Laboratory revealed a ballistic match to a bullet recovered from the crime scene of the East St. Louis pawn shop shooting. Analysis of the barrel of the silver revolver also revealed a DNA match to the victim of the shooting, unquestionably linking the firearm to the robbery of the East St. Louis Jewelry and Loan.
Collier is facing a term in prison of up to 20 years on each violation of the Hobbs Act. Collier also faces a minimum term in prison of 10 years up to a maximum term of Life for the conviction on Carry and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence for the armed robbery of the East St. Louis Jewelry and Loan, which must be served consecutive to, meaning in addition to, any term of imprisonment imposed on the Hobbs Act violations. Additionally, for Collier’s conviction for a second offense of Carry and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence for the armed robbery of Arena Liquor, Collier faces a minimum term in prison of 25 years up to a maximum of Life, consecutive to the term of imprisonment imposed on the other four counts of conviction. In addition to the term of imprisonment imposed, Collier can be fined up to $250,000 on each count and sentenced to a term of supervised release of up to five years.
The investigation was conducted by the Illinois State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Belleville Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the East St. Louis Police Department as part of the Metro East Armed Robbery Initiative. The case was tried by Assistant United States Attorneys Ali Summers and Steven Weinhoeft.