Virginia Man Sentenced for Role in Colonial Heights Armed Robbery
A Norfolk man was sentenced to over 14.5 years in prison for his role in a violent armed robbery of a Sprint Store in Colonial Heights.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on the afternoon of January 7, 2019, Ronnell Kareen Levon Johnson, 28, and his co-conspirator, Tajh Rodgers, 32, of Norfolk, traveled from the Norfolk area to Colonial Heights to commit an armed robbery of a Sprint Store. During the robbery, Rodgers brandished a loaded .40 caliber Ruger semi-automatic pistol and forced two employees into a back room of the store, where he let Johnson in through the back entrance. Johnson entered the store and started gathering Sprint Store merchandise into a bag.
Johnson and Rodgers then held the employees hostage in the back room, and attempted to tie up both victims while they completed the robbery. Due to a time-delay lock on the store’s safe, the defendants had to wait approximately 20 minutes for the safe to open. During that time, two separate customers entered the front of the store. Rodgers let one of the employees assist each customer, along with a warning that the employee would be killed if he tried to alert anyone about the crime. The employee followed those instructions and the final customer left without incident. Minutes after the second customer departed, the time-delay lock on the safe opened, allowing Johnson and Rodgers to steal dozens of cellular telephones and other store merchandise valued at approximately $25,000.
During a court-authorized search of Rodgers’s residence, officers recovered the loaded .40 caliber Ruger semi-automatic pistol used in the robbery, various stolen Sprint Store items, and other evidence. Using toll records and cellular tower data, law enforcement later identified Johnson as Rodgers’s co-conspirator in the armed robbery based on Johnson’s travel to and from the Colonial Heights Sprint Store on January 7, 2019, along with other evidence.
Johnson was sentenced today to 175 months in prison. On May 28, a federal jury in Richmond convicted Johnson on one count of robbery affecting commerce. Rodgers pleaded guilty on October 22, 2019 to the Colonial Heights armed robbery as well as three charges of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Rodgers was sentenced to 28 years imprisonment on January 9, 2020 for his role in the armed robbery and other unrelated criminal conduct.