Seven defendants were indicted on federal charges for their roles in a series of six cell phone store armed robberies last year that extended from suburban Chicago, including Addison and Woodridge, to Indiana and downstate Illinois.
Eric Rogers, 39, of Hazel Crest and Eric Curtis, 29, of Park Forest were arrested in December after a cell phone store in Woodridge was robbed, according to a news release from the United States Attorney's Office Northern District of Illinois. The pair allegedly directed a robbery conspiracy by selecting the stores that were robbed, recruiting their co-defendants to participate in the robberies, providing them with firearms and other equipment and paying them to commit armed robbery at their direction.
Rogers and Curtis were each charged with one count of robbery conspiracy, three counts of robbery and two counts of brandishing firearms. Curtis was also charged with being a felon-in-possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence. Both are being held in federal custody without bond.
A federal grand jury indicted the other five defendants Feb. 6. Marcus Harris, 20, of Chicago, Daniel Wright, 28, of Chicago, Tony Johnson, 20 of Harvey, and Lavell Hughes, 41, of Gary were charged with one count each of robbery and brandishing a firearm. Andre Wadlington-Anthony, 27, of Harvey was charged with two counts of each of those charges, according to the release.
The Norridge robbery included about 100 phones and tablet computers valued about $54,000.
The seven defendants, in various combinations, allegedly committed armed robberies at a Sprint store Jan. 31 in the 1300 block of West Lake Street in Addison, an AT&T store in LaPorte, Ind. Feb. 4, an AT&T store in Norridge March 19, a Sprint store April 4 in East Peoria, a T-Mobile store April 8 in Deerfield and a T-Mobile Dec. 14 in the 1000 block of West 75th Street in Woodridge.
The indictment alleges Rogers and Curtis conspired with Rogers' cousin, Ryan Rogers, who was shot and killed following the March 19 Norridge robbery after driving toward a Chicago police officer who was attempting to stop his vehicle, stated the release.
Each count of robbery carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of brandishing a firearm carries a consecutive, mandatory minimum of seven years in prison and a maximum of life.
All seven defendants will be arraigned on dates yet to be determined in U.S. District Court.
The FBI's Safe Streets Task Force comprised of the FBI and the Chicago Police Department investigated the case with the help of Addison, Deerfield, Homewood, Norridge, Woodridge, LaPorte, Ind. and East Peoria police departments.