A Kansas City man will spend at least 70 years in prison after a federal trial jury Thursday convicted him of his part in a three-month armed robbery spree that ended with a suspect fatally shot by law enforcement officers outside a Blue Springs business.
The jury deliberated for about three hours before it found 28-year-old Shannon Thomas guilty of participating in the conspiracy, participating in 10 armed robberies, 10 counts of brandishing a gun during a violent crime and one count of felony possession.
The crime spree ended in the pre-dawn hours of March 24, 2016, when Thomas, Deonte Collins-Abbott and Jermon Seals robbed the Walgreens at Missouri 7 and Duncan Road. They had been followed by FBI agents, U.S. Marshals Service agents and Kansas City Police.
According to court documents, the men took money and cough syrup at gunpoint at the Walgreens, and when they left the officers confronted them outside the drugstore. The suspects disregarded repeated commands, and Seals turned and pointed a gun at the officers, who then fired at him. Seals, 22, of Shawnee, Kansas, was killed, and the other two were arrested after a short foot chase.
Evidence during the trial showed Thomas and co-conspirators robbed at least 27 businesses in Blue Springs, Independence, North Kansas City, Raytown, Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas from Jan. 2 to March 24, 2016, including convenience stores, pharmacies and other businesses. Evidence also showed other uncharged robberies that took place during three-month spree.
Most of the robberies followed a pattern: Two or three conspirators entered a business armed with handguns and wore gloves, tightly drawn hoodies and/or masks. They showed their handguns in a threatening manner and forced employees at gunpoint to hand over money. In one of the robberies a victim got shot. The men wore the same hoodies in nearly all robberies, including Thomas' blue Royals hoodie.
According to federal guidelines, Thomas is subject to a mandatory minimum of seven years in federal prison without parole for each count of brandishing a gun during a violent crime, to be served consecutively. He also faces up to 20 years for participating in the conspiracy and up to 20 years for each of the armed robberies. Thomas will be sentenced at a later date.
Collins-Abbott, 24, of Grandview, pleaded guilty in June 2018 to charges in connection with the robbery spree and was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison without parole. Co-defendants Kevin “Kilo Ali” Thompson-Randell, 23, and Demetrius Nelson, 26, of Kansas City, Mo., and Parrise “Kilo” Black, 26, and Frank “Fonzi” Garner, Jr., 25, both of Grandview, have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.