3 men charged in string of business robberies in the metro

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Three men have been charged in connection to a series of armed business robberies in Kansas City, Mo. and Independence, Mo., over the past week.

Charges were filed in the U.S> District Court on Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo.

The three men have been identified as 18-year-old Vonterrious Humbert, 19-year-old Tremaine Johnson and 18-year-old Henry Simmons. All three men have been charged with participating in a conspiracy to commit armed robberies and with using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

Humbert, Johnson and Simmons were arrested on Tuesday following an early-morning armed robbery of a Phillips 66 convenience store and an attempted robbery of a Taco Bell located on N.W. Barry Road in Kansas City, Mo. Two males under the age of 18 were also taken into custody but have not been charged in the federal complaint.

The conspiracy included eight additional business robberies that included five armed robberies of 7-Eleven convenience stores in Independence, Mo., and Kansas City, Mo., in the early morning hours of Nov. 21, and three armed robberies of a Domino’s Pizza, a 7-Eleven convenience store and a Sinclair convenience store in Kansas City, Mo., during the early morning hours of Nov. 25, according to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint.

A Dodge Durango SUV was identified by witnesses at some of the robberies. On Nov. 26, law enforcement observed Humbert, Johnson, Simmons and the two juveniles traveling in a 2003 Dodge Durango to around 15 to 20 convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and other businesses that were open late or 24-hours.

According to the affidavit, officers believed they were casing the businesses – making repetitive passes by these businesses in a slow, surveillance-like manner, as if examining the businesses for activity and occupants in advance of initiating a robbery.

Just after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, the vehicle arrived at the shopping area at NW Barry Road and Ambassador Drive. The vehicle parked at a nearby apartment complex. Four of the suspects got out of the vehicle. Humbert and Johnson walked across the street to the Phillips 66 convenience store while Simmons and a juvenile male walked to the Taco Bell.

According to the affidavit, Humbert and Johnson robbed the Phillips 66 store at gunpoint, stealing approximately $400, then ran back across the street toward a wooded area near the apartment complex. Johnson and Humbert were then pursued into a strip mall area near the apartments. Both were apprehended nearby and were found to have discarded the firearms they possessed at the time of the robbery – a Taurus handgun with a laser sight and an SKS-type 7.62x39mm rifle.

As this robbery was occurring, the affidavit says Simmons and the two teens were allegedly attempting to rob the Taco Bell. They both had firearms when officers approached them. They attempted to discard the weapons at the time of their arrest.

Officers retrieved a loaded Taurus 9mm semi-automatic handgun with a laser sight and a loaded Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun.

A second juvenile male was identified as the driver and sole occupant of the Dodge Durango SUV at the time of the arrests. Officers searched the vehicle and found a loaded Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and a jar containing marijuana.

The three men remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.