VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A federal jury convicted a Virginia Beach man Friday for his role in a spree of grocery store robberies that ended in a Harris Teeter store manager being shot.
Darrius A. Heuser-Whitaker, 19, was charged with armed robbery and conspiracy. Court records show that Heuser-Whitaker was one of two masked gunmen who robbed a Virginia Beach Food Lion and attempted to rob a Harris Teeter, also in Virginia Beach.
During the robberies, Heuser-Whitaker pushed a semi-automatic handgun equipped with a laser sight into the backs of the store managers while demanding money from the safe.
Investigators say a team of at least six was involved in each robbery, including inside and outside “look-outs,” a getaway driver and two armed robbers. Look-outs inside the store would identify the grocery store manager and then tell the masked robbers, who were armed with guns.
Look-outs on the outside of the stores listened to police scanner applications and communicated with the others through encrypted communications and ear-pieces as the robberies were happening.
Nine co-conspirators were named. All nine pleaded guilty to various robbery and gun charges.
Heuser-Whitaker faces a minimum sentence of 17 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison.