Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 20, 2013

One sentenced in Greentown heist

Judge accepts one plea, rejects three others in robbery.

By Mike Fletcher
Tribune crime reporter

— A judge sentenced one of four men charged in a 2012 Greentown robbery and rejected plea bargains for three others in the case, according to court records.

Howard Superior Court 2 Judge Brant Parry granted an open plea Tuesday for Christopher Taylor, 26, and sentenced him to eight years with two years in prison, two years of in-home detention and four years of probation for his role in the Sept. 10 armed robbery of a Greentown convenience store.

As a condition of his probation, Taylor was ordered to complete and pay for drug and alcohol treatment, obtain his GED, pay restitution to the store as well as pay court costs and probation fees.

Also on Tuesday, Parry rejected a plea for Gregory Riley, 26, Kokomo, that had Riley plead guilty to Class C felony robbery and receive six years of in-home detention.

That plea and pleas for two other defendants, Luke Spence, 22, Kokomo, and Elliott V. Shoffner, 22, Fairmount, were rejected by Parry because the punishments were lenient.

Those cases were reset.

According to the Howard County Sheriff’s Department, at around 5 a.m. Sept. 10 the four men walked into the Smart Mart convenience store, 713 W. Main St., Greentown, .

While they were robbing the store, three customers walked in, detectives said.

The robbers forced the customers and store clerk into the store’s office, took the phone out of the office, and locked the customers and clerk inside, police said.

They didn’t however, take one customer’s cell phone. The customer quickly called 911, alerting police.

Detectives got their second break in the case when Spence left a credit card at the crime scene.

Investigators said clothing matching that worn by the suspects also was located by a resident along 700 East shortly after the robbery.

After executing a search warrant at Spence’s residence in the 700 block of West Sycamore Street in Kokomo and searching Spence’s gray 2007 Chevy Malibu, police said they found evidence which led them to a trailer in the 2700 block of North Washington Street.

At the trailer, police arrested Riley and Taylor.

Detectives said they located money, guns, clothing and other property associated with the robbery during the search, as well as equipment associated with marijuana cultivation.

Also located in the home was a home video surveillance system, which showed all four suspects preparing for and returning from the robbery, the sheriff’s department reported.