ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Chief U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow has sentenced Gates L. Sisk, 20, and Davia A. Barbee, 20, both of Indianapolis, to 13 years in prison for the Sept. 10, 2018, armed robbery of Walgreens Pharmacy in Galesburg, Ill. Both Sisk and Barbee were sentenced on Sept. 23, 2020. Both have remained in law enforcement custody since they were arrested hours after the robbery on Sept. 10, 2018.
Sisk and Barbee each pleaded guilty in February 2020, to all three counts as charged in the indictment, including obstructing commerce by robbery, brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, and possession with intent to distribute narcotics.
According to court documents and testimony, Sisk and Barbee were accompanied by another individual when they entered the Walgreens at 844 Fremont St., Galesburg, Ill., at approximately 4:20 a.m., on Sept. 10, 2018. The defendants displayed and pointed apparent guns at the pharmacy employees as they bound the employees with zip ties. The defendants demanded narcotics and threatened to kill the employees if they did not cooperate. The defendants took large quantities of Adderall, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and methylphenidate, a generic form of Ritalin, to sell.
Police officers with the Galesburg Police Department arrested Sisk and Barbee shortly after the robbery as they fled on foot after crashing their getaway car. Police recovered a Bersa .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun used in the robbery from the car and more than 12,000 pills from the car as well as bottles that were thrown from the car as the defendants fled from police.
At sentencing, a DEA investigator testified that various individuals in the Indianapolis area had been carrying out armed pharmacy robberies since 2017 in various locations, including much of the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. Both Sisk and Barbee are from Indianapolis, as is the third suspect in the Galesburg robbery, identified in court as Prentice Davis. According to the agent’s testimony, Sisk has been linked to two other similar robberies in Alton, Ill., and Appleton, Wis. Barbee has been linked to a similar robbery in Kansas City, Mo. Davis is currently serving a 10-year-sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections for a pharmacy robbery in Missouri.
The Galesburg Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Donald B. Allegro and Jennifer L. Mathew represented the government in the prosecution.