RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Wendell man who robbed several Aldi grocery stores across North Carolina will spend nearly 30 years in prison, federal prosecutors say.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Friday that Lionel Robinson, 43, received his 356-month sentence from District Judge Terrence W. Boyle.
A jury convicted him in October on five charges that included Hobbs Act robbery, using a firearm during a crime of violence and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
“This defendant engaged in violent behavior in a grocery store where families do their shopping,” U.S. Attorney Michael Easley said. “Through a collaborative investigation between state, local and federal partners, we took a dangerous criminal off the street, and placed him behind bars for nearly 30 years. This sentence should serve as a deterrent to those that are engaged in violence in our communities.”
Robinson robbed Aldi stores in six cities — including Rocky Mount, Fayetteville, and Kernersville — in 2019 by ringing the back doorbell and pretending to be a delivery driver, prosecutors said.
Then he would force his way inside, hold the employee at gunpoint, and order that person to open the store’s safe, prosecutors said.
Authorities that executed a search warrant at his home say they found gloves and clothing consistent with what was used in those robberies and the vehicle that was spotted by surveillance cameras. They also say they found ammunition.