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Four charged with Friday phone store robbery

January 18, 2018 GMT

One of the four men charged with robbing a Madison cellphone store of more than $20,000 worth of phones on Friday told police that the group was only looking for gas money back to Indiana, but he went along with the phone thefts so he wouldn’t have a conflict with the others, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.

Another of the four men told police that he and the others were “bored and broke” before deciding to rob the T-Mobile store at 1 Dempsey Road, on Madison’s East Side.

But store employees described a group of robbers that appeared well-organized, wearing masks and rubber gloves, with one of the men speaking into a device intended to disguise his voice, according to the complaint. They told police that three of the men burst into the store, demanded cash and forced them into a back room, the complaint states.

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One of the stolen phones, with a tracking device, helped police to trace the group to the Road Ranger gas station, 2762 Highway N in the town of Pleasant Springs, where they were arrested not long after the 7 p.m. robbery, according to the complaint.

Steven V. Gayden, 23, of Aurora, Illinois; Angelo E. McKenzie, 24, of Chicago; Doran D. Skanes, 24, of Fitchburg; and William W. Thomas, 22, of South Bend, Indiana, were each charged with two counts of armed robbery. Skanes was also charged with two counts of pointing a firearm at another.

The four appeared in court Wednesday, where bail was set at $75,000 for Gayden, $50,000 for Skanes, $30,000 for Thomas and $15,000 for McKenzie.

According to the complaint:

Skanes told police that the plan was to rob the store to get at least $40 in cash to buy gas for the drive back to Indiana. He said he didn’t know that the others were going to take phones and SIM cards. Skanes said he held the store’s two employees at gun point in a back room while the others took the cash and phones.

Thomas told police that he had come from South Bend, Indiana, with the other three men. During the robbery, he said, he grabbed one of the employees by the back of the neck and pushed him toward the back of the store. He said he took part in the robbery because he was “bored and broke.”

McKenzie remained outside in the car during the robbery, Thomas said.

In the car after the group was arrested, police found clothing, bank bags, a backpack containing money and a loaded .380 semi-automatic handgun. An unspent cartridge in the chamber, however, was loaded backwards.

Store employees told police that 39 phones worth $21,368 were taken, along with 67 SIM cards worth $1,675.