MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – Aaron Whitley, 21, has been sentenced to 240 months in federal prison for multiple Hobbs Act business robberies and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to those crimes of violence. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney announced the sentence today.
According to information presented in court, on July 30, 2019, at 10:50 pm, Whitley stole a Silver 2010 GMC Terrain parked outside of Circle K on North Germantown Parkway. The owner of the SUV reported that he left his car running while he walked inside the business, and turned around just in time to see someone drive away in his car. The owner worked as a security guard and his uniform, security badge and loaded 9mm pistol were in the car at the time. Whitley took the car, security guard uniform and the gun, and within twenty minutes committed three armed robberies of various convenience store businesses on Austin Peay Highway.
Specifically, Whitley took at gunpoint $190.00 and 6 packs of Newport 100 cigarettes from Marathon gas station; he then drove to Exxon where he took at gunpoint approximately $250.00-$300.00 in cash and 6 packs of Newport cigarettes; And finally, Whitley took at gunpoint $36.00 from Circle K. The clerk at Circle K managed to put a tracking device in the bag he gave Whitley. Moments after the third robbery, deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop for speeding on the GMC Terrain. Whitley, the driver was the only person in the car.
Evidence found in the car from all three robberies included, but was not limited to, 12 packs of Newport cigarettes, $430.55 in cash, a tracking device, a security guard shirt, and the 9mm pistol that matched the description given by the victims.
On December 9, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker sentenced Whitley to 240 months in federal prison followed by four years supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: “Robberies of businesses with a firearm are especially dangerous and violent due to the high risk of death and serious bodily injury by the simple squeeze of a trigger. Within the short span of 20 minutes, this young violent offender’s selfish and impulsive greed terrorized multiple victims – and rightly earned him a long sentence of 20 years in a federal prison.”
The FBI Safe Streets Task Force and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Will Crow and Raney Irwin prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.