A federal jury has convicted a Long Beach, California man of committing a series of violent robberies at cellphone stores, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah has announced.
After about two hours of deliberation, a jury on Wednesday found Edward Eugene Robinson, 49, guilty of conspiracy to obstruct commerce by robbery, two counts of obstructing commerce by robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm in a crime of violence.
According to evidence presented at trial – which included eyewitness accounts, store surveillance videos and evidence obtained from search warrants – Mr Robinson was the leader of a team of robbers who committed at least 15 robberies at armed robbery at cell phone stores in northern Texas and southern California in the spring and summer of 2019.
Evidence showed that during the robberies, Mr. Robinson and his accomplices threatened store workers with guns and tasers and demanded that they open store safes where phones and other equipment were stored. The thieves would then restrain the employees using zippers or cell phone chargers.
During the plot, Mr. Robinson stole more than $600,000 in inventory, including cellphones, tablets and watches.
Mr. Robinson faces a minimum of 14 years and up to life in federal prison for his crimes. A sentencing date has been set for July 8. He also faces additional charges in the Central District of California.
“Mr. Robinson and his accomplices have embarked on a series of violent robberies across multiple states, endangering the lives of innocent civilians,” Acting U.S. Attorney Shah said. Texas and California law enforcement who have worked tirelessly to bring this criminal actor to justice.”
“The FBI is focusing its investigative resources on suspects who pose the greatest threats to public safety, including violent serial offenders who cross jurisdictional lines,” said Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge. FBI in Dallas. “In addition to stealing more than $600,000 in merchandise, Mr. Robinson and his accomplices threatened dozens of employees who feared for their lives long after the thefts had ended. The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force and our partners will continue to seek justice for victims of violent crime.
The other defendants in the case – Aaron Hardrick, 33, and Ncholeion Hollie, 30, both of Fort Worth, Texas – had previously pleaded guilty. Mr. Hardrick pleaded guilty in 2019 to several federal robbery and firearms charges in northern Texas and southern California. He was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison. Ms Hollie pleaded guilty in 2020 to a federal robbery charge in North Texas and was sentenced to 9 years in federal prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Street Safety Task Force, Fort Worth Police Department, Hurst Police Department and Bedford Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Weybrecht and Nancy Larson of the Northern District of Texas prosecuted the case. They received substantial assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jerry C. Yang and Peter H. Dahlquist of the Central District of California, who also prosecuted other California members of the flight team.