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Vondell Henry Jr.

A Gary man was sentenced Thursday to almost nine years in federal prison for a violent robbery at a Munster cellphone store in August 2017.

Vondell Henry Jr., 20, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to eight years and nine months in prison and three years supervised release for the armed robbery of Cellular Connection at Ridge Road and Calumet Avenue.

Henry and four others participated in the robbery, which took place during business hours Aug. 1, 2017, while customers were in the shop, according to authorities. The robbers stole $371 from the register and 25 cell phones before leading police on a high-speed chase that ended in a foot pursuit in residential Gary.

Ke-Monte Cobbs, a 15-year-old suspect in the robbery, was fatally shot by a Gary police officer while fleeing in the 5500 block of West 19th Place, authorities said. Cobbs was allegedly armed with a handgun.

Henry pleaded guilty March 7 to Hobbs Act robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence for his role in the robbery.

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Deshalone Damien Davis, another participant in the robbery, was sentenced earlier this year to 11 years and three months in prison. An unnamed juvenile was also charged in the case.

Henry was sentenced by Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen. The case was investigated by the FBI GRIT Task Force with help from Munster, Gary and Griffith police departments.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Chang prosecuted.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.