U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Southern District of Indiana
Southern District of Indiana
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney
Contact: Tim Horty
Hogsett Announces Indianapolis Man Convicted of Lawrenceburg Robbery, Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison
INDIANAPOLIS – United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett today announced the recent sentencing of John Baxter, 33, Indianapolis, to 300 months (25 years) in federal prison following his pleas of guilty to robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
The case was the result of a two month investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Lawrenceburg Police Department, and the Shelbyville Police Department, into a string of armed and strong armed robberies in central and southern Indiana. Based on witness descriptions and video surveillance from the businesses, authorities determined that Baxter was responsible for five robberies in Marion, Shelby, and Dearborn Counties, between August 22, August 30, 2010.
On August 27, 2010, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Baxter entered the BP gas station located at 622 Arch Street in Lawrenceburg, Ind., and approached the clerk who was behind a customer service counter. Baxter asked the clerk for a pack of Camel cigarettes and gave the clerk money to complete the sale. When the clerk opened the cash drawer to make change for Baxter, Baxter suddenly jumped onto the counter and began grabbing money from the drawer. When Baxter grabbed a stack of twenty dollar bills from the drawer, the clerk also grabbed onto the stack of money and began struggling with Baxter to keep him from stealing it. The clerk then called for help, and the owner of the BP gas station came out from the back room. Upon seeing the owner, Baxter fled the store with approximately $44.28. As a result of the physical altercation with Baxter, the BP clerk suffered minor injuries. Baxter was did not display a firearm during the BP robbery.
Thereafter, in the early morning hours of August 31, 2010, Baxter was arrested on a public intoxication charge at the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Ind. At the time of Baxter’s arrest, law enforcement officers noted that Baxter matched the description of the individual that robbed the Lawrenceburg BP three days earlier. A female who was with Baxter at the Casino told police that she and Baxter were staying at a local hotel, and subsequently consented to police searching their shared hotel room. During the course of that search, Lawrenceburg Police recovered a chrome, AMT, model Backup, .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun, police officers also recovered several other items which tied Baxter to the robberies.
Subsequent to Baxter’s arrest, ATF agents reviewed Baxter’s criminal history and determined that Baxter had been convicted of Burglary in 1996, in Marion County, Indiana; Theft / Receiving Stolen Property in 2001, in Marion County, Indiana; Resisting Law Enforcement in 2003, in Marion County, Indiana; and Theft in 2007, in Hendricks County, Indiana. As a convicted felon, Baxter was prohibited from possessing any firearm or ammunition.
Baxter’s conviction also included the following robberies:
- August 22, 2010, Baxter robbed the Village Pantry at 1224 South Harding Street in Indianapolis.
- August 28, 2010, Baxter robbed the Vineyard Liquors located at 4899 Kentucky Avenue, in Indianapolis.
- August 28, 2010 one half hour after the Kentucky Avenue robbery, Baxter robbed the All Star Liquors located at 2910 South Lynhurst in Indianapolis.
- On August 30, 2010, at approximately 11:00 PM, Baxter robbed the Cork Liquors locatedat 410 Vine Street, in Shelbyville, Ind.
Baxter pled guilty to robbing the BP in Lawrenceburg, the Vineyard Liquors in Indianapolis, and the Cork Liquors in Shelbyville. Baxter also pled guilty to using a firearm in connection with the robbery of Vineyard Liquors. Baxter received a sentence of 18 years in connection with his pleas of guilty to the three robberies, and a consecutive, mandatory minimum prison term of seven years in connection with his plea of guilty to using the firearm in the Vineyard Liquors robbery.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Rinka, who prosecuted the case for the government, Judge Lawrence also imposed five years supervised release following Baxter’s release from prison. Baxter was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $2,044 to the businesses he robbed.