HOUSTON – A federal grand jury has returned two separate
indictments charging a total of three men in two armed crime sprees of
Houston-area commercial businesses, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. In
one instance, two juveniles working at a Subway restaurant were robbed at
gunpoint. The cases are being investigated and prosecuted as part of the
recently announced Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Crime Gun Strike Force.
Devante Blackmon, 19, is set to make his initial
appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances H. Stacy at 10:00 a.m. today.
He is charged in the armed robbery of a local Dollar Tree store along with
Stafford Polk, 22. Polk is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains
outstanding for his arrest.
Blackmon and Polk are charged with armed robbery and
using firearms in Both are charged with Feb. 22, 2019, armed robbery of the
Dollar tree store located at 5360 West 34th Street, in Houston. The defendants
allegedly pointed a gun at several store employees and stole money before
fleeing as the police arrived.
Blackmon is charged with two additional robberies of
local cell phone stores. On May 20, 2018, Blackmon allegedly confronted a store
employee who was working at the Metro PCS store located at 7303 Breen Drive in
Houston. The indictment alleges Blackmon brandished the weapon and robbed the
employee of money and cellular phones at gunpoint. On June 15, 2018, Blackmon
also allegedly committed the armed robbery of the Boost Mobile store located at
12151 Northwest Freeway in Houston. Again, Blackmon allegedly brandished his
gun and stole money and cellular phones at gunpoint.
In a separate, but similar case, Russell Pittman aka
Randon Booth, 26, of Houston, allegedly committed three separate armed
robberies of commercial businesses, including robberies of a Subway restaurant
and two cell phone stores, during which he stole U.S. currency and cellular
phones before fleeing.
On Feb. 15, 2018, Pittman allegedly confronted two
juveniles who were working at the Subway restaurant located at 10086 Long Point
Road in Houston. The indictment alleges Pittman brandished the weapon and
robbed the employees of money at gunpoint.
The indictment alleges Pittman committed another armed
robbery of the Boost Mobile store located at 2323 South Kirkwood in Houston.
Again. He brandished his gun and stole money and cellular phones at gunpoint,
according to the charges. Less than a month later, he allegedly also robbed the
Cell Phone Zone located at 7111 Harwin Drive in Houston. During that robbery,
Pittman pointed the gun at several store employees and stole money and cellular
phones, the charges allege.
Pittman appeared in federal court March 18, 2019, at
which time Judge Stacy ordered be held in custody pending further criminal
Pittman and Blackmon are bot charged with three counts of
interference with commerce by robbery and three counts of using and brandishing
a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Polk is charged with
one count each of the same crimes.
If convicted, the defendants faces up to 20 years in
federal prison for the robbery charges. The firearm offenses alleged in the
robberies carry a mandatory minimum term of seven years to life for each
offense, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed. Each conviction also carries the possibility
of a $250,000 maximum fine.
ATF and Houston Police Department conducted both
investigations, now part of the ATF Crime Gun Strike Force. Assistant U.S.
Attorney Steve Mellin is prosecuting the cases.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct,
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through
due process of law.