MINNEAPOLIS — Yesterday in federal court in St. Paul, two Twin Cities metro area men were sentenced for committing the armed robbery of a New Brighton gas station on January 12, 2011. United States District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank sentenced Terry Lamar Roberts, Jr., age 23, of Fridley, to 192 months in prison on one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of interference with commerce by robbery, pursuant to the Hobbs Act. Judge Frank also sentenced Theodore Julius Collins, age 26, of Minneapolis, to 84 months on one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. The men, who were indicted on February 15, 2011. Roberts pleaded guilty on April 22, 2011, and Collins pleaded guilty on May 2, 2011.
Following the sentencings, Bernard J. Zapor, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ St. Paul Field Office, said, These violent criminals should be getting the message that local law enforcement is partnering with this agency to remove the threats they pose.
In his plea agreement, Roberts admitted that on January 12, 2011, he robbed at gunpoint the E–Z Stop station, located at 574 Old Highway 8, leaving with $195.97. He ran to an awaiting vehicle, driven by Collins. According to police reports regarding the incident, officers observed a vehicle driving at night without its headlights on. They then saw a man run from the E–Z Stop and get into the vehicle. Subsequently, they stopped and searched the vehicle. During that search, they seized clothing that matched what was worn by the robber. They also recovered $195.97 in cash and a nine–millimeter pistol.
In addition, Roberts admitted to committing the armed robberies of a Brooklyn Center O’Reilly Auto Parts store on November 17, 2010, a Crystal Pizza Man restaurant on November 21, 2010, the same E–Z Stop store on December 7, 2010, a Plymouth Dominos Pizza restaurant on December 19, 2010, and a Crystal O’Reilly Auto Parts store on December 21, 2010. Roberts also admitted that from May of 2004 through December of 2010, he committed armed robberies at a Corner Store in Richfield, a Foley Foods store in Coon Rapids, a Texas Tonka Liquor Store in St. Louis Park, a Super 8 Motel in Brooklyn Center, a Top Diner in Minneapolis, and a Bill’s Superstore in Minneapolis.
In his plea agreement, Collins admitted driving Roberts to the E–Z Stop on January 12.
The Hobbs Act, passed by Congress in 1946, allows federal prosecutors to prosecute violent habitual criminals who commit armed robbery in places of business that involve interstate commerce. Federal prosecution of these cases is sometimes beneficial since the penalties are often tougher than under state law. Furthermore, because the federal system has no parole, those who receive federal sentences serve virtually the entire prison term imposed.
This case was the result of an investigation by the New Brighton Police Department, the Roseville Police Department, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.