Hattiesburg Man Pleads Guilty to Hobbs Act Robbery

Published 1:26 pm Sunday, February 6, 2022

Gulfport, Miss. – A Hattiesburg man pled guilty to unlawfully obstructing, delaying, and affecting commerce by using actual force or violence to steal a firearm from Academy Sports + Outdoors, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Brad L. Byerley, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

On November 6, 2021, Cody Jerome Cooley, 22, visited Academy Sports + Outdoors in Gulfport. Cooley approached the gun counter, where he was served by a store clerk. He then asked to see one of the handguns, a Springfield Armory XDM Elite.  The clerk gave Cooley the firearm to examine. Cooley later motioned towards another handgun in the display case. When the clerk turned his head to look at the gun, Cooley looked both ways, struck the clerk in the face with the Springfield Armory handgun, and fled from the store. This was all captured on surveillance footage.

After he fled from the store with the stolen handgun, armed civilians apprehended Cooley in a nearby restaurant parking lot. Post Miranda, Cooley admitted to taking the gun and striking the clerk.  The Springfield Armory handgun was recently shipped by Academy Sports and Outdoors from out of state to Mississippi to be sold at the store. The clerk that was struck by Cooley had to receive medical care for his injuries.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Cooley pleaded guilty to unlawfully obstructing, delaying, and affecting interstate commerce by robbery. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 12, 2022. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Gulfport Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Buckner is prosecuting the case.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.