Six-year sentence for robber who hit six shops in eight days
A prolific offender who raided six convenience stores in eight days was starting a six-year jail term today.
Lee Egege needed the money to go towards the cost of his brother's funeral and fund his heroin habit that had become more entrenched following the death of his sibling, a judge heard.
The 33-year-old targeted three One Stop shops – two of which were hit twice – and a Premier store, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
The total value of the goods stolen was more than £9,000.
Staff were threatened with a hammer on one occasion and a manager was hit on the head with a brick during another, revealed Mr Philip Brunt, prosecuting.
Egege's cousin Ruburn McNally was an accomplice on two of the robberies.
Same bus route
The crime spree, in which the two or three people taking part made little or no attempt to hide their identity, started at the One Stop Stores in Hales Lane, Smethwick, on October 21.
Egege burst into the shop, leapt over the counter and filled a bag with scratch cards, tobacco, alcohol and cigarettes from behind the till before fleeing. He used the same unsophisticated method on all the robberies and thefts.
The next day he carried out a carbon copy raid on the chain's branch in Vicarage Lane, Kings Heath, which is on the same bus route as the earlier target and was raided by him again – this time with assistance from 36-year-old McNally – on October 25.
The same female member of staff was on duty on both occasions and took a woman customer, who was shopping when they struck for the second time, into the back of the store where the terrified duo watched the raid on CCTV, continued Mr Brunt.
Two days earlier Egege and an unidentified man stole around £1,000 worth of cigarettes from the Premier store in Londonderry, Smethwick, and escaped down Queens Road after the manager was hit with a brick.
McNally threatened two members of staff with a hammer when the One Stop in Hales Lane was hit for a second time but on this occasion police called to the scene spotted three men escaping with bags.
They caught McNally in The Uplands, Smethwick, and discovered the hammer, 13 bottles of alcohol and cigarettes in his bag.
Finally Egege, who had previous convictions involving 65 separate offences, raided the One Stop Stores in Middleway Green, Stowlawn, Bilston, on October 29.
He was recognised on CCTV film of the incident and arrested two days later. Others involved are still at large.
Mr Simon Rippon, defending the father of two, said: "He embarked on this brazen course of offending to help with the funeral costs and his heroin abuse after his identical twin brother was found hanged."
Egege, of no fixed address, admitted four robberies and two thefts and was jailed by Judge Amjad Nawaz.
While McNally from Arthur Road, Handsworth, pleaded guilty to two robberies and was given a five-year eight-month sentence.
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