Macedonia -- A federal judge sentenced three men Nov. 26 in connection with a series of armed robberies in Summit and Cuyahoga counties, including an October 2011 robbery at the city's Route 82 T-Mobile store.
A fourth man connected with the case, but not charged in the Macedonia robbery, was convicted in early November and has filed an appeal.
According to court documents, U.S. Sixth District Judge David D. Dowd sentenced Maple Heights residents Curtis I. Bobbitt, 45, and Demonte P. Thompson, 24, and Cleveland resident Marlon Portis Jr., 23, following a plea agreement. Their attornies did not return calls seeking comment.
Bobbitt pleaded guilty to felony counts of conspiracy to commit interference with commerce by robbery, use of a firearm during a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm following a previous felony conviction and was sentenced to 19 years and seven months in federal prison.
Thompson and Portis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit interference with commerce by robbery and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. Dowd sentenced Thompson to 15 years and Portis to 15 years and six months in federal prison.
Dowd also ordered that the three men pay a total of $188,126 in restitution to five stores robbed between December 2010 and October 2011, including $53,408 to the Macedonia store, the last to be robbed.
According to a federal grand jury indictment filed last March, nearly 500 cell phones were stolen from the five stores for later sale. The other four stores, all Radio Shack outlets, are in Maple Heights, Garfield Heights, Cleveland and Euclid.
As part of the plea bargain, Dowd dismissed other felony charges against all three men.
According to the indictment, the three men were accused of meeting to plan the robberies, then Thompson and Portis would enter the stores wearing hats, masks and gloves and brandishing firearms, and would restrain store employees with duct tape and leave with the cell phones.
Meanwhile, Bobbitt and/or Cleveland resident Miguel McGhee, 39, would wait outside in a vehicle.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, an anonymous informant told police Bobbitt tried to sell him more than 100 T-Mobile phones. Macedonia police then found evidence of the crime when they searched Bobbitt and Thompson's home.
McGhee was found guilty Nov. 2 of conspiracy and robbery and not guilty of use of a firearm in a crime of violence in connection with the Maple Heights and Garfield Heights robberies and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. Dowd also included him, along with the other three men, in an order that they pay $44,119 in restitution to the two stores.
McGhee filed an appeal in U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals and the case is pending.
Bobbitt, McGhee, Portis and Thompson are all in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.