Crime

Nationwide robbery ‘crew’ implicated in Kansas City, Kan., phone store holdup

Alleged members of a nationwide robbery gang have been charged with the $53,000 hold-up of a Kansas City, Kan., Verizon phone store last September.
Alleged members of a nationwide robbery gang have been charged with the $53,000 hold-up of a Kansas City, Kan., Verizon phone store last September.

Alleged members of a nationwide robbery gang have been charged with the $53,000 hold-up of a Kansas City, Kan., phone store last September.

Five men were charged Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., where court documents allege they were part of a group involved in “dozens of similar robberies” throughout the United States.

Mario Lambert, Sir T. Love, Sharod Pitts, Domonique V. Walker and Terry D. Curtis were charged Wednesday with robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

Love and Lambert are also charged with the robbery last November of another phone store in Knoxville, Tenn., according to documents filed there in federal court.

Court documents do not list ages and residences of the five men, but according to the documents, they may be from the Chicago and Rockford, Ill., areas.

They are charged with holding up a Verizon Wireless store at 10621 Village West Parkway last September.

During the robbery, four employees and one customer were forced at gunpoint to lay face down on the ground. Their hands were bound with plastic zip ties.

The robbers filled plastic trash bags with phones and accessories. They made off with about $53,000 in cash and merchandise, according to the court documents.

After Kansas City, Kan., police released surveillance camera photos from the robbery, they were contacted by police in Rochester, Minn., who said two of the suspects in the Kansas City, Kan., robbery appeared to have been involved in a similar holdup there.

Rochester police also provided video from their robbery to Kansas City, Kan., detectives, who identified one of the suspects in the Minnesota robbery as being involved in the Verizon robbery.

In December, an anonymous tipster told police that Lambert and another man were involved in the Kansas City, Kan., robbery.

Police in Rockford told detectives that Lambert and the other man were documented members of a gang in their area, according to the documents.

But after questioning that other man, police determined he was not involved in the Kansas City, Kan., robbery. He however, told them he knew about the robbery and that Lambert was involved.

Investigators learned that Lambert was on parole in Illinois for heroin possession and firearms violations. His parole officer identified him in a surveillance photo as one of the Kansas City, Kan., robbers, according to the documents.

Kansas City, Kan., police were joined in the investigation by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and after Pitts was also identified as a possible suspect, agents interviewed him at the Cook County Jail in Chicago.

He admitted committing the Verizon store robbery, according to the court documents.

Agents also went to Knoxville where they interviewed Love, who also admitted his involvement in the robbery, according to the documents.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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