BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge today sentenced an Ensley man in connection with four armed robberies, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives, and Firearms Special Agent in Charge Mikey French.
U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced Eric Tyree Blanding, 47, to 198 months in prison. Blanding pleaded guilty to four counts of Hobbs Act Robbery, one count of carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“As today’s sentence makes plain, armed robbery is a serious federal crime deserving of serious prison time,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “To achieve long-term reductions in violent crime, my office focuses our efforts on those offenders who are the most violent and who commit the most serious crimes.”
“Removing the criminal element that uses a firearm to facilitate violent crimes such as a robbery is a priority of ATF,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Mickey French stated.
According to the plea agreement, Blanding committed four robberies at three different Family Dollar stores in Birmingham by brandishing a firearm at store employees and taking cash and other property. The robberies occurred in May and June of 2019.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
ATF investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristy Peoples prosecuted the case.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Northern District of Alabama