A Missouri man pleaded guilty in federal court to the robberies (and attempted robberies) of five businesses.
Joshua A. West, 28, Overland Park, Kansas, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to five counts of robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime.
By pleading guilty, West admitted that he robbed the CVS Pharmacy at 6300 Prospect Ave., Kansas City, Mo., on July 17, 2018. When West came around the counter, the cashier, who believed he was armed, opened the cash drawer. West took all of the cash and left the store. Investigators posted a bulletin using a photo from surveillance footage and received a tip that identified West, who was on probation at the time.
West also admitted that he used a firearm to rob the Sprint Store at 4902 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, Mo., on Aug. 10, 2018. West forced an employee to open the locked cabinets behind the counter so he could take all the iPhones, Apple Watches, and Samsung S-9 phones.
The next day, on Aug. 11, 2018, West robbed the Phone Shack at 6392 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, Mo., at gunpoint. West forced two employees to get on the ground, then stole phones and cash from the register.
On Aug. 15, 2018, a manager of a T-Mobile store sent a photo of West to all the managers of stores in the metropolitan area. On the same day, the manager of a T-Mobile store at 12400 S. US Hwy. 71, Grandview, Mo., spotted West in the parking lot outside the store. Because he had been alerted, the manager locked the door. West tried to open the door, then pointed a firearm at the manager from outside for a few seconds before walking away.
Immediately afterward, West entered the nearby AT&T store at 12346 U.S. Hwy. 71, Grandview, Mo. West pulled out a firearm and ordered the employees to give him all the iPhones. West ordered the two employees and a customer into a back room. Another customer stayed in the main showroom and ran out of the store after West went to the back room. That customer called 911. Once in the back room, an employee opened a closet that had all the iPhones. West ordered them to the ground and put the phones in a plastic bag.
West left the back room, going back through the main showroom. Before he reached the front door, however, two Grandview police officers confronted him in the main showroom. West attempted to run through the back room, but the door had locked behind him. The officers ordered West to get on the ground, but he refused, and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, a Taurus 9mm pistol fell from West’s waistband. More officers arrived and took West into custody.
Under federal statutes, West is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole on each of the robbery charges, plus a consecutive sentence of at least 14 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole, for the firearm charges. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Grandview, Mo., Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.