DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

Friday, December 11, 2020
Maria Chapa Lopez
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

Tampa Man Sentenced to 28 Years After Committing Five Armed Robberies

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew has sentenced Eric Lee Robinson, Jr. (29, Tampa) to 28 years in federal prison for conducting a string of armed robberies of convenience stores and a restaurant over a three-week period in Tampa. On March 7, 2019, Robinson had pleaded guilty to four counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

According to court documents and information presented during the sentencing hearing, Robinson robbed a Circle-K store on May 23, 2018; attempted to rob a Hungry Howie’s pizza store on June 4, 2018; robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store and a Sunoco gas station on June 4, 2018; robbed a Sunoco gas station on June 5, 2018; and robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store on June 15, 2018. During each of the robberies, Robinson burst into the business wearing a ski mask, gloves, and head-to-toe black clothing. He also brandished a gun, threatened to hurt or kill the store employees, and demanded that the employees give him the money from the safes and cash registers. Across the five armed robberies, Robinson stole a total of $881 and multiple batches of lottery tickets. He was arrested a few hours after the June 15, 2018, robbery of the 7-Eleven convenience store.

During each of the robberies, Robinson was joined inside the business by a co-conspirator, and was often aided by a waiting getaway driver. One of Robinson’s alleged co-conspirators, Ishmell Upshaw, has been charged and is set for trial in January 2021.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Tampa Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Gordon.

This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

Tampa Field Division