BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- Authorities say three men entered a Walgreens and robbed the store on Thursday morning, but little did they know that law enforcement agents were on to them and waiting when the trio emerged from the store.
Shots were fired, and one of the suspects was killed just after 3 a.m.
Shannon R. Thomas, 25, of Shawnee, Kan., and Deonte J. Collins-Abbott, 21, of Grandview, Mo., were charged in federal court with armed robbery and aiding and abetting one another to possess a firearm during a violent crime. Jermon Seals of Shawnee was identified as the suspect shot after one of the suspects pointed a gun in the direction of officers.
A law enforcement source told FOX 4’s John Pepitone that the men in custody are suspects in about 20 armed robberies of places like convenience stores and liquor stores across the metro area. The U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed those details Thursday afternoon.
— U.S. Attorney WDMO (@USAO_WDMO) March 24, 2016
The FBI says it had been following the men as part of a special team investigating the rash of robberies. In a federally filed affidavit, 15 of the 21 suspected robberies are detailed, and investigators allege that the men got away with at least $38,026 worth of cash, cigarettes and liquor. In one of the robberies on March 15 at a Conoco on Prospect a victim was shot.
The locations are mostly convenience stores, and were located in Independence, Raytown, North Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan. A Sonic, World Liquor, and a business in the Hickory Hills Shopping Center on Blue Ridge Cutoff are also listed as burglary locations in the affidavit.
“What you have is three individuals that they believe were suspects in these area robberies. Kansas City Police Department's Career Criminal Squad and the FBI were conducting surveillance of these individuals based on a chronological investigation,” said FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton.
As the suspects left the store, agents moved in to confront them. A U.S. Marshal shot and killed one of the suspected robbers before the other two surrendered.
“One of the individuals in question, who is believed to be a potential suspect in the area robberies, brandished a weapon in the direction of law enforcement that`s when an exchange of gunfire took place,” said Agent Patton.
The FBI says the joint investigation has been ongoing for six weeks. The ATF’s Illegal Firearms Squad also is helping in the case.