For Immediate Release
Felon Sentenced for Role in Two Armed Coffee Stand Robberies, Shooting at Pursuing Police Officer
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that an Anchorage man has been sentenced in federal court for his role in the Sept. 25, 2017, armed robbery of Caffé D’Arte and the attempted armed robbery of Heavenly Cup, which led to a vehicle chase during which defendant shot at one of the pursuing APD vehicles.
Myles Gonangnan, 28, of Anchorage, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason to serve 20 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. This sentence resulted from Gonangnan’s February 2018 guilty plea to four charges: (1) conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce; (2) robbery affecting interstate commerce; (3) attempted robbery affecting interstate commerce; and (4) using or discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Gonangnan’s co-defendant, Shane Twigg, 36, of Eagle River, is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 5, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. for his role in the offense.
According to court documents, Gonangnan admitted that prior to Sept. 25, 2017, he and Twigg planned to rob Anchorage businesses, planned to use a gun to achieve compliance with their demands for money, and planned to use a combination of a bicycle and vehicle to flee from their crimes. On the morning of Sept. 25, 2017, Twigg called Gonangnan to set the plan in motion. The two met at an apartment Twigg frequented, where Twigg loaded a bicycle into the back of his girlfriend’s Buick SUV. The two then left, armed with a Roger Redhawk .44 caliber pistol.
Gonangnan and Twigg subsequently drove by Caffé D’Arte and decided to rob the coffee stand. Twigg stopped the vehicle a short distance away so that Gonangnan could depart on bike. Twigg then parked his vehicle in a nearby gas station and gave Gonangnan a "thumbs up" signal when he deemed it safe to proceed with the robbery. After receiving the signal, at about 8:22 a.m., Gonangnan biked up to one of the drive-through windows and demanded money from the barista while brandishing a firearm. The barista fearfully gave Gonangnan approximately $1,200.
Just over an hour later, Twigg and Gonangnan attempted to rob another Anchorage coffee stand, the Heavenly Cup, in the same way they robbed Caffé D’Arte. Gonangnan biked up to the drive-through window, and again demanded money and tried to brandish his firearm. Gonanagnan had some difficulty unholstering the firearm, but his attempts to do so frightened the barista, who immediately fled to the back of the stand and called 911. After finally getting the gun unholstered, Gonangnan fled on the bike with no proceeds.
Shortly after the attempted robbery of Heavenly Cup, Anchorage police saw the Buick SUV traveling on Dimond Blvd. The vehicle refused to stop and a chase ensued. After one police vehicle hit the Buick’s back end in an attempt to disable it, Gonangnan shot out of the back of the Buick at the police officer whose vehicle impacted them, hitting the police vehicle multiple times. That police vehicle became disabled, but several others continued to pursue the fleeing Buick. After Twigg drove the Buick the wrong way on a one-way road, police rammed the vehicle again, causing it to crash and disable in a parking lot.
Gonanagnan has a previous felony conviction with the State of Alaska for Burglary in the Second Degree, and was therefore prohibited from possessing a firearm. Gonangnan also has a long history of misdemeanor offenses that were sometimes assaultive or threatening.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Gleason took into account the seriousness of the offense, including the danger posed to the baristas and their customers, the APD officers, and Anchorage citizens, as well as Gonangnan’s personal and criminal history. Judge Gleason also recommended that BOP place Gonangnan in a facility with strong mental health treatment services, and that Gonangnan avail himself of substance abuse treatment during incarceration. Gonangnan was also ordered to pay $1,200 in restitution to Caffé D’Arte for the money he stole, and $23,929 to the Anchorage Police Department for the repair work that was necessary to restore two police vehicles to service.
The Anchorage Police Department (APD) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of this case. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Sayers-Fay.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.