KANSAS CITY – A man was sentenced in federal court Tuesday for his role in a three-months-long conspiracy that included more than 27 armed robberies, culminating in the armed robbery of a Walgreens in Blue Springs, Missouri, in which a suspect was fatally shot by law enforcement officers.
Shannon R. Thomas, 29, Kansas City was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to life in federal prison without parole, followed by a consecutive sentence of 72 years in federal prison without parole.
On May 9, 2019, Thomas was found guilty at trial of participating in the conspiracy as well as participating in 10 armed robberies. He was also found guilty of 10 counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The life sentence was imposed for Thomas’s conviction of brandishing a firearm during the Walgreens robbery that resulted in the death of Jermon Seals.
Thomas and co-conspirators robbed 27 businesses in Blue Springs, Independence, North Kansas City, Raytown, and Kansas City, Missouri, and in Kansas City, Kansas, at gunpoint from Jan. 2 to March 24, 2016. In addition to the armed robberies charged in the indictment, evidence was introduced during the trial of other, uncharged robberies that were committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. Victim businesses included convenience stores, pharmacies, and other businesses.
The robberies followed a similar pattern: Two or three conspirators entered the business armed with handguns, wearing gloves, hoodies, and/or masks. The hoodies were drawn tightly over their faces to obscure their features. The employees were forced at gunpoint to hand over money from the cash register and the safe. The thieves wore the same hoodies in nearly all the robberies; Thomas wore a blue Kansas City Royals hoodie for the majority of the robberies he committed.
The spree of robberies culminated on March 24, 2016. Thomas, along with co-defendant Deonte J. Collins-Abbott, 25, of Grandview, Missouri, and Jermon Seals of Shawnee, Kansas, robbed the Walgreens at 7 Highway and Duncan in Blue Springs. Thomas placed a Springfield Armory .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol to the back of an employee’s head and took money from the front register. Collins-Abbott and Seals went over the pharmacy counter and took prescription grade cough syrup at gunpoint from the pharmacist. They left the business but were confronted by law enforcement officers as they were walking back to the vehicle. They failed to comply with the officers’ commands; Seals turned towards the officers, pointing a gun in their direction. Officers returned fire and Seals was fatally struck in the exchange. Thomas and Collins-Abbott were apprehended by officers after a short foot chase.
Collins-Abbott pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison without parole. Collins-Abbott admitted that he committed eight armed robberies between Feb. 3, 2016, and March 24, 2016.
Parrise K. Black, also known as “Kilo,” 27, of Grandview, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole. Demetrius Nelson, 26, of Kansas City, Missouri, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight years in federal prison without parole. Co-defendant Kevin T. Thompson-Randell, 24, of Kansas City, Missouri, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole.
Frank A. Garner, Jr., 25, of Grandview, pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 18, 2019.