DETROIT (WWJ) – The ringleader of a seven man robbery crew that terrorized cellphone stores in the metro Detroit area is going to prison for a very, very long time.

Frank Richardson, 39, was sentenced Thursday to 124 years in federal prison after having been found guilty in June on 10 counts of robbery and firearms offenses.

According to U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, Richardson was the leader of a seven man robbery crew that committed armed robberies of Verizon and Radio Shack stores in Detroit and Eastpointe between February and May 2010.

Evidence presented at trial showed that Richardson and one of his co-defendants would carefully select and perform surveillance at the stores to be robbed. They would then assemble the crew and, armed with handguns, commit armed robberies at the various locations, according to court documents.

During the robberies, some of the crew would force employees and patrons into rear storage rooms at gunpoint, McQuade said, while others collected cellphones into large laundry bags before fleeing the store.

McQuade said Richardson would act as a look-out from outside each location, communicating with the men inside the stores by cellphone or handheld radios. The stolen phones would later be sold to individuals who offered them for sale online on e-Bay.

Investigators say through the course of the robberies, losses to the various stores exceeded $80,000.

Richardson and the rest of the crew were eventually when counter-surveillance by the Detroit FBI Violent Crimes Task Force resulted in arrests immediately following a May 8, 2010 robbery.

“A lengthy sentence like this one results from the mandatory minimum sentences required for multiple counts of armed robbery. Congress mandated severe sentences for the severe harm violent criminals cause to public safety. We hope that violent offenders will take note of this type of sentence and put down their guns,” McQuade said in a statement.


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