U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of Alabama
Northern District of Alabama
For Immediate Release
March 7, 2011
Joyce White Vance, United States Attorney
Contact: Peggy Sanford
Five Birmingham Residents Indicted for Robberies
BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury indictment of five Birmingham residents for multiple robberies was unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, ATF Special Agent in Charge Glenn Anderson and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.
AARON THOMAS, 33, ANTOINE JAMAR HARPER, 28, OMARI ELLIOT, 29, DERRICK CRAIG, 26, and KENDRA NESHELL BOWIE, 26, all of Birmingham, were indicted Feb. 2. THOMAS, HARPER and ELLIOTT are in state custody on charges connected to the robberies. BOWIE will be notified to appear in court on the federal charges. CRAIG remains at large.
According to the federal indictment, the defendants are charged in connection to six armed robberies at five businesses and one armed bank robbery in the Birmingham area between December 2009 and March 2010.
These were all violent crimes involving weapons where innocent employees and bystanders were put at risk, Vance said.
I applaud the cooperative work of the Birmingham and Hoover police departments, the ATF and the FBI in their investigations that led to arrests and charges in these cases.
ATF and our law enforcement partners in these investigations will continue to vigorously work future cases on violent crime and repeat offenders. Any armed robbery can quickly turn into a senseless tragedy. Without a doubt, these types of crimes instantly put the public, merchants and law enforcement officers’ safety in jeopardy, Anderson said.
The defendants are charged jointly in the case, which involves crimes that are all similar in nature, occurred within a short time frame, and appear to be part of a larger scheme. THOMAS is charged in five robberies; HARPER in four robberies; ELLIOTT in two; and CRAIG and BOWIE in one.
According to the indictment, the robberies were committed as follows:
- On Dec. 24, 2009, THOMAS entered the Shoe Show store at 9518 Parkway East, Birmingham, armed with a gun and robbed the business of more than $1,800.
- On Dec. 31, 2009, THOMAS entered the Church’s Chicken restaurant at 7529 1st Ave. North, Birmingham, armed with a gun and robbed the business of more than $1,300.
- On Jan. 4, 2010, THOMAS entered the Dollar General store at 9088 Parkway East, Birmingham, armed with a gun and robbed the business of more than $800.
- On Jan. 8, 2010, THOMAS and HARPER entered the Cash America store at 9416 Parkway East, Birmingham, armed with a gun and a hammer and robbed the business of $500 and about $30,000 in jewelry.
- On Jan. 15, 2010, THOMAS and HARPER entered BB&T Bank at 629 Red Lane Road, Birmingham, and using a gun, attempted to rob the bank.
- On March 16, 2010, HARPER and ELLIOT entered the Cash America store at 9416 Parkway East, Birmingham, and using a gun and a hammer, robbed the business of more than $1,900 and nearly $2,000 in jewelry.
- On March 22, 2010, HARPER, ELLIOT, CRAIG, and BOWIE robbed the Diamond World store at 1678 Montgomery Highway, Hoover, and robbed it of about $60,000 in jewelry. HARPER and ELLIOTT conducted the robbery using a gun and a hammer.
This matter was investigated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, and the Birmingham and Hoover Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Montminy is prosecuting the case.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.