MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Steven Gayden, 23, Aurora, Illinois, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James Peterson to nine years in federal prison, followed by a five-year term of supervised release. On April 13, 2018, Gayden pleaded guilty to conspiring to rob a business and to brandishing a firearm during that robbery.
Gayden and two co-conspirators, William Thomas and Doran Skanes, conspired to rob a T-Mobile Cellular store in Madison, Wisconsin, on January 12, 2018, and a .38 caliber pistol was brandished during the robbery. Employees of the store were directed to lay on the floor at gunpoint, and Gayden, Thomas and Skanes stole cellular telephones, SIM cards, and cash.
Judge Peterson rejected Gayden’s request for a lower sentence, finding that “an armed robbery is so terrorizing to the victims and to the community.”
Thomas and Skanes also have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and brandishing a firearm during this crime of violence. They will be sentenced by Judge Peterson on August 2.
The charges against Gayden, Thomas and Skanes are the result of an investigation by the Madison Police Department, Dane County Sheriff’s Office, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita M. Rumbelow.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.