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Armed Robbers Get a Century in Prison

HOUSTON (CN) - Two men were sentenced Tuesday to more than a century apiece in federal prison for an armed robbery spree in Houston.

Clarence Buck 33, of Humble, was sentenced to 1,846 months (154 year less 2 months) and Kendal Allen, 24, of New Orleans, to 1,435 months (119 years and 7 months). A jury convicted them of multiple robbery and gun charges in August.

The men were part of crews, organized by Buck, who robbed three T-Mobile stores and a Houston flea market in November 2012, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

They herded customers and employees into a back room at gunpoint at each store, while Buck kept lookout outside, and took 750 phones, worth $350,000, that Buck sold and then gave members their cut.

Buck also led a smash and grab at the Houston Bargain Center flea market on Black Friday 2012, in which nine masked men stormed in with assault rifles, forced everyone to the ground, smashed display cases and took $500,000 in jewelry. Again, prosecutors said: "Buck was outside."

Allen toted pistols at two of the cellphone store stickups and assault rifles at the other two robberies. After the Black Friday robbery, police executed a search warrant at Buck's house in Humble, where they found stolen jewelry, more than $29,000 in cash and the AR-15 rifle Allen used in the robbery.

Buck and Allen's defense attorneys faced long odds in the face of the 19 government witnesses during the eight-day trial.

"Buck's defense attempted to convince the jury that he was not involved in the robberies or gun offenses," prosecutors said. "He claimed he only acted as a fence hired by others to sell the stolen property. Allen also tried to tell the jury he was not involved."

Eight other men, ranging in age from 24 to 49, have pleaded guilty to involvement in the robberies.

The Justice Department called Buck and Allen's sentences "some of the largest" handed down in the Southern District of Texas.

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