Updated: January 18, 2014 6:35AM
Two Southland men, charged with robbing a cellphone store in Woodridge on Saturday, are suspected of planning several similar heists throughout the Chicago area, according to the FBI.
Eric Rogers, 39, and Eric Curtis, 29, were each charged with one count of robbery in a federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, according to a statement from the FBI.
Eric Rogers, 39, of the 16700 block of Artesian Avenue in Hazel Crest, and Eric Curtis, 29, of the 200 block of Berry Street in Park Forest, were arrested Saturday night in the parking lot of a T-Mobile store after police received reports of a robbery in progress, the FBI said.
It said Rogers and Curtis are believed to be the leaders of a crew responsible for multiple phone store robberies since January. Rogers’ cousin, Ryan Rogers, also was involved in the robberies and was shot and killed by police near his Hazel Crest home in March, according to the FBI.
On March 19, the two men who robbed an AT&T store at 4155 N. Harlem Ave., Norridge, met earlier that day at Ryan Rogers’ apartment with five other men, including Eric Rogers and Curtis, the FBI said.
It said the group traveled in two cars to the Norridge store, where two men entered about 5:10 p.m., one ordered employees and customers into a back room at gunpoint and the other forced an employee to open a locked storeroom and help fill bags with phones. The two robbers stole about 100 phones and tablets valued at about $54,000, according to the FBI.
After the robbery, police went to the home in Hazel Crest, believing that Ryan Rogers and Eric Rogers were involved in the heist, and Ryan Rogers was shot and killed by police after accelerating a vehicle toward an officer who was trying to stop him, the FBI said.
It said similar robberies occurred Jan. 31 at a Sprint store in Addison and April 8 at a T-Mobile store in Deerfield. Suspects questioned in the Norridge robbery, along with several others, have linked Eric Rogers and Curtis to the crimes in sworn statements, the FBI said.
Eric Rogers also has been linked to a Feb. 4 robbery in LaPorte, Ind., and cellphone records indicate that he and Curtis had contact with suspects in multiple heists near the times of the robberies, according to the charges.
Sun-Times Media Wire