Six in Custody in Houston Armored Car Robbery Cases
One Fugitive Sought
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 28, 2014|
** Updated February 4, 2014, at 10:35 a.m. **
Ronald Dean Richards is no longer a fugitive. He has turned himself in to federal authorities and is expected to make an initial appearance February 4, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy.
HOUSTON—Seven men from Houston have been charged in two separate and unrelated cases involving the robbery or attempted robbery of armored cars operating in and around Houston, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson, along with Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI.
“The arrests in these cases underscore our commitment to vigorously prosecuting in federal court those that perpetrate violent robberies of armored cars and clearly endanger innocent lives,” said Magidson.
Dezmond Lacraig Edwards, 24, and Allen Bernard Roundtree, 27, were taken into custody late yesterday without incident. They are charged along with James Van-Gerald Johnson, 30, who was previously arrested, with robbing a Loomis armored car on December 6, 2013, at the University of Houston Student Center. During the course of the arrests, authorities recovered several firearms, including three assault rifles; narcotics; cash; and other items. The defendants were charged in a sealed indictment returned January 23, 2014, and unsealed this morning as they made their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy. They have been ordered held in custody pending a detention hearing set for January 30, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.
Also charged is Ronald Dean Richards (pictured below), 23, who is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the FBI at 713-693-5000 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Crime Stoppers will offer a reward up to $5,000 for any information leading to his location and arrest. In addition, beginning today, Richards will be featured on Clear Channel Outdoor’s Houston-area digital billboards. Clear Channel Outdoor is donating the space as a public service to the community.
In the second, unrelated case, William Hendrick Williams, 27; Stephen Carter, 29; and Bobby Gray, 27; are charged for their involvement in the October 7, 2013, attempted robbery of a Garda Cash Logistics armored truck at the Chase Bank at 19747 N. U.S. 59 in Humble, Texas. Williams and Carter were taken into custody on Friday, January 24, 2014, at which time they made their initial appearance. They are set to appear again in court before Judge Stacy today at 2:00 p.m. Gray is currently in state custody and is expected to appear on the federal charges January 30, 2014.
“Our citizens shouldn’t have to worry about violent offenders opening fire at busy shopping centers or our university campuses. These violent robberies are putting guards and innocent bystanders in grave danger, and they will not be tolerated,” said Morris. “The FBI will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to ensure justice in every one of these cases.”
Loomis Armored U.S. Inc. and Garda Cash Logistics, who operated the trucks during the alleged robbery and robbery attempt, maintain offices throughout the United States and were engaged in the business of secured armored transport of United States currency in interstate commerce and in picking up and delivering United States currency to financial institutions and check cashing businesses, both of which are industries which affect interstate commerce.
On December 6, 2013, Johnson, Richards, and Roundtree allegedly drove to the University of Houston Student Center. Johnson, who was armed with a pistol, jumped out and forced the pregnant driver out of the Loomis truck, according to the allegations. The messenger, who was filling the ATM inside the student center, tried to stop Johnson and fired his service weapon. According to the indictment, his attempt was unsuccessful, and Johnson was able to abscond with the vehicle, which was loaded with money. Johnson, Richards, and Roundtree allegedly used a stolen vehicle as their switch vehicle and then loaded all the cash they obtained into two more vehicles they had planted at a prearranged location across from the University of Houston Campus.
Johnson was apprehended as he was leaving town, at which time he had cash, a new car, and jewelry and was also carrying a firearm matching the description of the one used during the robbery.
The four men are charged with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and with interference with commerce by robbery. In addition, Johnson was further charged with brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
In the second matter, Williams, Carter, and Gray are charged with their involvement in the October 7, 2013 attempted robbery of a Garda Cash Logistics armored truck. The indictment alleges Carter drove the others to the location where they all waited for the armored car to arrive. It is alleged that the guard, who was filling the ATM, retrieved money from the armored car, at which time Williams demanded money and shot him several times in the back. Gray allegedly attempted to retrieve the money, but both guards returned fire and the defendants fled. The guard was critically wounded but is continuing to recover.
Williams, Carter, and Gray are all charged with one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and one count of interference with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting. Williams is also charged with discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.
The conspiracy charge and the convictions for interference with commerce by robbery both carry as possible punishment up to 20 years in prison, as well as a possible $250,000 fine. Williams also faces at least an additional 10 years in federal prison and up to life for discharging a firearm during the commission of the Garda attempted robbery, which must be served consecutively to the other terms imposed. For brandishing a firearm during the commission of the Loomis robbery, Johnson faces a seven-year consecutive term to any underlying sentence for the robbery offenses.
Both cases are being investigated by the FBI’s Bank Robbery Task Force, which includes members from the FBI, Houston Police Department, and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Additional assistance was provided in the respective cases by University of Houston Police Department; Texas Rangers; Humble Police Department; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Customs and Border Protection; the Gulf Coast Regional Task Force; and Crime Stoppers. The Loomis and Garda armored cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Megan Paulson and Jennie Basile, respectively.