CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas— Three Houston gang members have been ordered to federal prison following their convictions of robbery and assaulting at least one customer at a Love’s Travel Stop.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David S. Morales handed Christopher Bernard Brown, 39, a 90-month federal prison sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. He must also pay restitution.
According to U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery of the Southern District of Texas, Brown pleaded guilty Sept. 30, 2021.
At the sentencing hearing, the court heard about approximately 33 related truck stop robberies and numerous employees and customers who were traumatized as a result of Brown’s and others’ actions, according to a news release from Lowery’s office.
A news release from Lowery’s office said that Brown and Thomas Alec Buckley, 26, worked in concert with co-conspirators Wesley Jerome Davis, 28, and Kevin Wilson, 33.
“They threatened or used physical force towards customers or employees to steal or attempt to steal ATMs and the currency they contained from at least nine Love’s Travel Stops throughout Texas and Louisiana,” the news release stated.
The multi-district and interstate Hobbs Act conspiracy occurred between May 29-Sept. 2019. During the robberies, Brown typically served as a scout or lookout while Davis, Wilson, Buckley or others wore masks and gloves and placed straps or chains around the ATMs. Then, a vehicle connected to the chains would accelerate to dislodge the bolted-down machines. Co-conspirators would lift the dislodged ATMs into the waiting vehicle and quickly drive away.
The attempts failed in Angleton, Natalia and Domino. However, the robbery crew was able to obtain monies from the stolen ATMs in Hungerford, Seguin, Lufkin, Cleveland and Three Rivers, as well as Vinton, Louisiana.
In the Three Rivers robbery, co-conspirators came into contact with Love’s employees or customers, at which time Brown yelled, “What are you gonna do?! What are you gonna do?!”
The masked or hooded suspects also made menacing gestures towards the employees. Love’s Travel Stop employees did not intervene with the men for fear of sustaining serious bodily injury.
In Seguin, a good Samaritan attempted to stop the ATM robbery but Davis struck him twice, at which time he fell to the floor and suffered bodily injury from a head wound.
Davis and Wilson pleaded guilty July 29, 2021. Previously, Morales sentenced Wilson to 90 months imprisonment, while Davis was ordered to serve a 60-month sentence. Wilson and Buckley also pleaded guilty in a related robbery case Nov. 22, 2019.
Buckley remains on bond pending sentencing.
Brown will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
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