2 suburban men charged in cell phone store robbery
Tribune illustration of handcuffs (Tribune photo illustration)
Eric Rogers, 39, known as “E,’’“Big E” and “the G” of the 16700 block of Artesian Avenue in Hazel Crest and Eric Curtis, 29, also known as “Little E” and “Lil E,’’of the 200 block of Berry Street in Park Forest were arrested without incident Saturday night by Woodridge police, according to a statement from the FBI.
A criminal complaint filed against them late last week charged each one with one count of Hobbs Act Robbery for their roles in the Norridge robbery, which happened March 19 at an AT&T store at 4155 ½ N. Harlem Ave., the FBI statement read.
In the heist, they made off with about 100 phones and tablet computers valued at about $54,000.
Rogers and Curtis are suspected of having recruited, directed, and in some instances provided handguns to others who carried out that robbery and several more in the Chicago area, the statement said.
They were turned over to the FBI and appeared before a judge Sunday. They have been ordered held pending a Wednesday morning court appearance, the statement said.
The arrests of Rogers and Curtis took place Saturday night 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 two, was carried out by two other suspects who eluded authorities and are still being sought.
According to the complaint, Rogers, Curtis and a third person, Ryan Rogers -- a man who was fatally shot by Chicago Police and who is Eric Rogers’ cousin -- were the organizers of a crew responsible for numerous robberies of cell phone stores in the Chicago area since January, the statement said.
Curtis recruited an individual to carry out the March 19 Norridge robbery as well as two additional ones – one in February near St. Louis and the other in April in north suburban Deerfield – and that Curtis provided instructions and a firearm used in the commission of the Norridge and Deerfield robberies, according to the complaint.
Eric Rogers allegedly provided instructions as well as a firearm to a person he recruited to commit a robbery of a cell phone store in Addison in January and another in La Porte, Ind, in February, the statement said.
The complaint states that on the day of the Norridge robbery, two suspects who carried out the robbery met with five other people -- 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 on Harlem, the statement said.
Once inside, two of the individuals entered the store and one robber pulled a gun and ordered customers to a back room, the statement said.
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 from the back door.
Following the robbery, Chicago Police officers went to Ryan Rogers home in Hazel Crest because they suspect that Ryan and Eric Rogers were involved in the Norridge robbery, and 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 statement said.
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 Jan. 31 and at a Deerfield T-Mobile store on April 8, two men entered the store, one armed with a handgun and ordered workers and customers on the floor or to a confined area of the area, the statement said.
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 before fleeing out the bag door of the store, the stamen said.
If convicted, Rogers and Curtis each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000
firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @RosemarySobol1