ALTON – An Alton man pled guilty today to an indictment charging him with aiding and abetting an armed robbery on a cab driver last July.
According to a press release by U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen Wigginton, Ramone C. Cunningham, 30, of Alton, was charged with one count of armed robbery in the United States Department of Justice.
The count is considered a federal “Hobbs Act Robbery.” The act makes it a crime “to obstruct, delay or affect interstate commerce by robbery.”
Cunningham faces a term of imprisonment of not more than 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years.
The defendant’s sentencing is scheduled for May 22, 2014, in East St. Louis, Ill.. He has been held without bond since his initial appearance on Dec. 3, 2013.
The offense occurred on July 18, 2013, when Cunningham and his co-defendant, Taylor Harkey, were at her residence discussing ways in which to get “quick money,” the press release stated.
At Cunningham’s suggestion, they devised a plan to rob a cab driver, and then left in Harkey’s husband’s car to go to another individual’s residence.
At this house, Cunningham remained in the car while Harkey went inside and used another individual’s cellular telephone to call Comfort Cab to have a cab sent to a vacant residence in Alton.
The two then parked in an alley near the vacant house where the cab was waiting. Before committing the robbery, Cunningham provided Harkey with a small black .177 caliber BB gun that looked like a real gun.
Harkey got out of the car and approached the cab, where the cab driver, having already noticed the residence was vacant, notified his dispatcher who told him to wait while they tried to contact the original caller.
The press release said Harkey reached through the open rear driver’s side window and pointed the gun at the cab driver’s head, saying, “Give me your money or I’ll blow your brains out.”
She also reached inside the cab and grabbed the cab driver’s company cellular telephone.
The driver threw $36.00, in cab fares, out of the window. As Harkey bent down to pick up the money, the cab driver drove away.
The cab driver was able to contact Comfort Cab to report that he had just been robbed. Comfort Cab subsequently called the Alton Police Department.
Using the original number that was used to call the cab, the officers were able to identify Harkey as a suspect.
Both Harkey and Cunningham were subsequently arrested a short time later at Harkey’s residence.
The BB gun Harkey used during the robbery was recovered from under the mattress of one of her children.
Both Cunningham and Harkey provided videotaped statements to Alton police officers in which they admitted their role in the robbery.
The case was investigated by the Alton Police Department, and has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.