(STL.News) – Lonnie J. Gardner, Jr. 32 years old, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Holly A. Brady after pleading guilty to Hobbs Act robbery, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch.
Gardner was sentenced to 92 months in prison followed by 2 years of supervised release. The Court also ordered restitution in the amount of $10,998.00
According to documents in the case, Lonnie J. Gardner, Jr was arrested after a traffic stop on February 2, 2018. A joint investigation by federal and local law enforcement revealed that on January 5, 2018, at approximately 10:00 a.m., a suspect, later identified as Gardner, armed with a handgun and wearing a fake brown beard and a hat, robbed the Fort Financial Credit Union located inside of a Fort Wayne Meijer store. A total of $1,776.00 was taken during the robbery. The suspect, was seen fleeing in a black Jeep Commander.
Shortly thereafter, officers with the Allen County Police Department saw a black Jeep Commander similar to the getaway vehicle within one mile of the Meijer store. A traffic stop was conducted and the driver of the black Jeep Commander was identified as Lonnie Gardner, Jr. From a search of the Jeep Commander, law enforcement had seen a blue puffy coat and a camouflage stocking hat in the back seat. Officers also observed a receipt dated January 5, 2018, from a finance company near the Meijer store evidencing a payment made on the Jeep Commander. Detectives were able to later confirm that after robbing the Fort Financial Credit Union on January 5, 2018, Gardner went to that finance company and made a $400.00 payment on the Jeep Commander with a portion of the proceeds from the bank robbery.
Additionally, on January 10, 2018, at approximately 2:10 p.m., a suspect, later identified as Gardner, armed with a handgun, robbed the Wal-Mart Customer Service Center located inside an Auburn, Indiana Wal-Mart. A total of $4,457.00 was taken during this robbery. After the robbery, the suspect fled and was seen on surveillance video being picked up by another individual driving a black pickup truck.
After his arrest, Gardner admitted to his involvement in the two robberies.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Indiana State Police Special Investigations Section, the Allen County Police Department, the Fort Wayne Police Department, and the Auburn Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lesley J. Miller Lowery.