Man gets 5 years for 52 cell phone robberies – Orange County Register

A Highland man has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in 52 cell phone store robberies during a two-month shooting spree in Southern California.

Tony Tyron Lee Stewart, 22, pleaded guilty in June to charges of conspiracy to interfere with trade through robbery and was ordered to pay $333,122 in compensation.

On January 15, Stewart and two co-conspirators – Rayford Newsome, 21, of Compton; and Jerome Gregory Belser, 21, of San Bernardino — robbed T-Mobile stores in Long Beach, Carson, Inglewood, Encino and Camarillo, according to US attorneys.

The trio were accused of entering stores during business hours wearing ski masks, using hammers to smash through security showcases and stealing cellphones, watches and other electronics.

After the Encino store robbery, police attempted to stop a car being driven by Newsome, who was leading authorities in a pursuit across North Hollywood. Eventually he stopped the vehicle and the three surrendered.

The threesome was linked to similar cell phone store robberies in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Kern counties from November 2021 through January, prosecutors said.

The robberies — multiple on the same day — resulted in a loss of about $293,444 and caused about $46,376 in damage to the stores, according to US attorneys.

“Stewart and his co-defendants terrorized cell phone stores throughout Southern California and traumatized employees and customers at over 50 different stores in a little over two months – all for (Stewart’s) own personal gain,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing note.

Both Newsome and Belser have pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to interfere in commerce by robbery. Belser was sentenced to almost six years in federal prison in September; Newsome’s sentencing is scheduled for January 5, 2023. Man gets 5 years for 52 cell phone robberies – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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