RICHMOND, Va. – A Norfolk man pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges in connection to a violent armed robbery of a Sprint Store in Colonial Heights and three separate instances of armed drug trafficking.
Tajh Stephon Rodgers, 29, admitted that he and an accomplice committed an armed robbery of a Sprint Store in Colonial Heights on January 7, 2019, according to court documents.
Rodgers stole more than 70 products valued at approximately $25,000, including 22 Apple iPhones, 8 LG cellular telephones, 6 Samsung cellular telephones, and an Apple Watch.
Court documents show Rodgers and his co-conspirator ordered two employees to the back of the store at gunpoint, where the robbers forced them to lie on the floor.
An employee was only allowed to get up when an unsuspecting customer walked in. During that time, the suspect directed the rep to go take care of the customer. Court documents show Rodgers threatened to kill the employee if he alerted the customer about the robbery.
That customer did not know what was happening and left the store.
During an investigation into the armed robbery, police identified Rodgers as a suspect. An investigation also linked him to a drug trafficking investigation in Norfolk.
According to court documents, Rodgers engaged in several armed drug transactions including the sell of fentanyl, crack cocaine, and firearms to cooperating sources.
During a search of Rodgers’ Norfolk residence, investigators recovered a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, various items connected to the Sprint store robbery, and fentanyl, marijuana, and crack cocaine connected to Rodgers’ ongoing drug trafficking.
Rodgers pleaded guilty to robbery affecting commerce, using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a robbery, and three counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Rodgers faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the armed robbery charge. For the firearms charges, he faces a mandatory minimum of 22 years and a maximum of life in prison.
He will be sentenced on Jan. 9, 2020.