DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Texas

For Immediate Release

Monday, October 1, 2018
Ryan K. Patrick
, United States Attorney
Contact: Angela Dodge

Armed Robber Gets Significant Sentence for Pawn Shop Burglaries

HOUSTON – Two Houston men have been ordered to federal prison for their convictions related to a string of Cash America Pawn robberies, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Patrick Earl Cooper Jr., 20, pleaded guilty July 2, 2018, while Joe Gutierrez entered his plea the month prior.
 
Today, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes handed Cooper a sentence of 108 months for his involvement in two armed robberies in addition to another seven years for using a firearm during a robbery. The total 16-year sentence will be followed by two years of supervised release. Gutierrez received 76 months for using a knife to rob a Cash America Pawn store on Oct. 31, 2017. He will also serve two years of supervised release.  
 
Cooper was sentenced for two specific robberies at Cash America Pawn stores, during which the defendants stole firearms, cash and jewelry. Specifically, in October 2017, Cooper joined with Derrick Stewart to rob the Cash America Pawn at 8223 North Freeway at gunpoint. Cooper, Stewart and Gutierrez were finally captured and arrested Oct. 31, 2017, after robbing the Cash America Pawn at 1816 North Durham Street at knifepoint.
 
In imposing the sentence, the court found Cooper lacked remorse for his crimes and had not accepted responsibility when he assaulted a fellow inmate while pending sentencing.  
 
Stewart, 20, of Houston, pleaded guilty to two robberies and using a firearm during a crime of violence and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 10, 2018.
 
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
 
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Houston Police Department and the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office assisted with the Cash America Pawn robbery investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Winter and Richard Hanes are prosecuting the case.
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Field Division: Houston Field Division