ST. LOUIS JUSTICE CENTER/MABEL SUEN
Rodney Gardner robbed Jeni's in March 2018.
An ex-con who viciously beat an ice cream shop employee during a heist last spring was sentenced today to seven years in federal prison.
Rodney Gardner, 52, pleaded guilty
in June to robbing Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (389 Euclid Avenue, 314-367-1700.)
He had posed as a customer in March before demanding employees hand over the money at the shop's Central West End location.
He repeatedly punched one employee in the face when she wouldn't open the cash register, breaking her nose, authorities say. He eventually took the whole register with him and bolted out onto the street, where he was quickly spotted by city police officers. They caught him after a short chase. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports
that he grabbed a board from a broken fence and threatened officers before they took him into custody. He stole $424.
The U.S. Attorney in St. Louis prosecuted the case under the Hobbs Act, a federal statute that criminalizes robbery and was originally used to target racketeering in labor-management disputes.
His criminal record includes a 1998 robbery conviction in state court.
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