FBI: Park Forest Man One of Two Charged with Cell Phone Store Robbery, Suspected of Orchestrating Series of Other Robberies

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Two Chicago-area men were arrested Saturday night and charged in connection with a March 19, 2013 robbery of an AT&T cell phone store in Norridge that resulted in the loss of approximately 100 phones and tablet computers valued at around $54,000. These two individuals are suspected of having recruited, directed, and, in some instances, provided handguns to others who carried out the robbery and several more in the Chicago area, according to the charges which were announced December 16 by Robert J. Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Eric Rogers, also known as “E,” “Big E,” and “the G,” 39, of 16751 Artesian Avenue in Hazel Crest, Illinois; and Eric Curtis, also known as “Little E,” and “Lil E,” 29, of 230 Berry Street, Park Forest, Illinois, were taken into custody without incident Saturday night by officers of the Woodridge Police Department. The criminal complaint filed against them late last week charges each with one count of Hobbs Act Robbery for their roles in the Norridge robbery. Following their arrest, they were turned over to federal authorities and appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge yesterday morning. Both defendants were ordered held pending their next court appearances, which are scheduled for Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.

The arrests of Rogers and Curtis took place in the parking lot of a Woodridge T-Mobile store following reports of a robbery at the store. The robbery, similar in style to others allegedly connected to the defendants, was carried out by two other individuals who eluded authorities and are still being sought.

According to the criminal complaint, Rogers, Curtis, and a third person, Ryan Rogers (deceased), who was a cousin to Eric Rogers, were the organizers of a crew responsible for numerous robberies of cell phone stores in the Chicago area dating back to January of this year. The complaint alleges that Curtis recruited an individual to carry out the March 19th Norridge robbery, as well as two additional robberies, one in February 2013 near St. Louis and the other in April 2013 in Deerfield, and that Curtis provided instructions to the robbers along with a firearm used in the commission of the Norridge and Deerfield robberies. Eric Rogers allegedly provided instructions, as well as a firearm, to an individual he recruited to commit a robbery of a cell phone store in Addison in January and another in La Porte, Indiana, in February.

The complaint states that on the day of the Norridge robbery, two individuals who allegedly carried out the robbery met with five other individuals, including Eric Rogers and Curtis, at the apartment of Ryan Rogers in Hazel Crest, and from there the group traveled in two cars to the AT&T store located at 4155 ½ North Harlem Avenue. Once at the store, two of the individuals entered the store, and one robber pulled out a gun and ordered employees and customers to a back room of the store. Then one of the individuals ordered an employee to open a locked storeroom and help fill bags with phones. The two robbers then left the store through the back door.

Following the robbery, Chicago Police Department officers went to the residence of Ryan Rogers in Hazel Crest because they suspected that Ryan and Eric Rogers were involved in the Norridge robbery. According to Chicago Police reports described in the complaint, Ryan Rogers drove toward an officer attempting to stop the vehicle he was driving, and Ryan Rogers was shot and killed by a Chicago Police officer.

The complaint describes a similar method used to carry out other robberies allegedly planned by Eric Rogers and Curtis. According to the complaint, at an Addison Sprint store on January 31 and at a Deerfield T-Mobile store on April 8, two men entered the store, one armed with a handgun, and ordered employees and customers either to the floor or to a confined area of the store. One of the robbers then ordered an employee to open a locked room or cabinet containing phones and tablets, which the robbers placed into bags they carried into the store. The robbers then fled out the back door of the store.

If convicted of the charge filed against them, Rogers and Curtis each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $ 250,000.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which is composed of FBI special agents and CPD detectives.

In announcing the charges December 16, Mr. Holley expressed his thanks for the invaluable collaboration and contributions of the Addison, Chicago, Deerfield, Homewood, Norridge, and Woodridge Police Departments.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.