Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that two Camden men pleaded guilty today in connection with a string of armed robberies at 7-Eleven stores in Camden, Burlington and Mercer counties in 2014, including a robbery in Pennsauken in which the clerk was shot multiple times.
Officials say the two men, both Camden residents, pleaded guilty today before Superior Court Judge John T. Kelley in Camden County. They are scheduled to be sentenced on June 1.
* Charles L. Walls, 35, pleaded guilty to first-degree charges of attempted murder and robbery, as well as two counts of third-degree criminal restraint. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Walls be sentenced to 30 years in state prison, including 17 years of parole ineligibility.
Authorities say Walls faces 20 years in prison with 17 years of parole ineligibility on the attempted murder charge, and a concurrent sentence of 10 years in prison on the robbery charge. He faces sentences of five years in prison for each of the criminal restraint charges, with those sentences to run consecutively to the attempted murder sentence.
* Anthony T. Ervin, 27, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Ervin be sentenced to 12 years in state prison, including just over 10 years of parole ineligibility.
In pleading guilty, Walls admitted that he participated in an armed robbery at a 7-Eleven on Westfield Avenue in Pennsauken at about 12:45 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2014. Walls admitted that he shot a store clerk during that robbery. The victim, a Paulsboro man who was 28 at the time, was shot multiple times with a .40-caliber handgun and was left paralyzed. Walls further admitted that he committed two of the other robberies, during which he restrained store clerks with zip ties.
In pleading guilty, Ervin admitted that he participated in an armed robbery on June 13, 2014 at a 7-Eleven on East Church Street in Blackwood.
“Walls and Ervin started their violent crime spree with the robbery of a 7-Eleven store in Pennsauken during which Walls ruthlessly gunned down a young store clerk, leaving him paralyzed, and their reign of terror continued with seven more armed robberies of 7-Eleven stores,” said Attorney General Grewal. “These guilty pleas will keep these dangerous criminals behind bars for a long time. I commend all of the agencies that helped track down these men and bring them to justice.”
“These two defendants went on a crime spree that spanned seven municipalities and three counties,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Fortunately, the law enforcement agencies in these jurisdictions joined forces and quickly caught the defendants before they could harm any more innocent victims.”
The investigation revealed that, in addition to the armed robbery in Pennsauken during which the clerk was shot, Walls and Ervin committed seven other armed robberies of 7-Eleven stores between April 27 and June 13, 2014. In two of the robberies – which were committed on the same day, May 27, 2014, in Hamilton Township and Medford Lakes – they were assisted by a third man. In each robbery, the men used similar methods.
According to authorities, they struck during the early morning hours and wore masks, hooded sweatshirts and gloves. One robber always was armed with a handgun and held the clerk at gunpoint, while the other man or men stole cash from the register and cigarettes. In four instances, the robbers used zip ties to restrain store clerks. They drove to the stores in a red-orange Chevrolet Sonic.
Officials arrested Walls and Ervin in a multi-agency investigation coordinated by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. Walls was arrested on June 13, 2014 at his apartment. Detectives executed search warrants for the apartment and for the getaway car, which was located at the apartment. They found a Ruger .40-caliber handgun in the apartment, along with packs of cigarettes, other tobacco products, and footwear and clothing items consistent with those worn in the robberies. Latex gloves and zip ties were found in the car. Ervin was arrested on Oct. 8, 2014. The two men have been jailed since their arrests.
The investigation revealed that Walls and Ervin committed the following eight robberies of 7-Eleven stores:
1. Jan. 10, 2014, 7-Eleven at 6001 Westfield Avenue in Pennsauken.
2. April 27, 2014, 7-Eleven at 610 Kresson Road in Cherry Hill.
3. May 6, 2014, 7-Eleven at 7800 Maple Avenue in Cherry Hill.
4. May 15, 7-Eleven at 1 East Camden Avenue in Moorestown.
5. May 27, 2014, 7-Eleven at 1993 Arena Drive in Hamilton.
6. May 27, 2014, 7-Eleven at 2 Stokes Road in Medford Lakes.
7. June 3, 2014, 7-Eleven at 2 East Main Street in Marlton.
8. June 13, 2014, 7-Eleven at 508 East Church Street in Blackwood.