A Valdosta man will spend 16 years in federal prison for a slew of Dollar General store robberies in South Georgia and North Florida, including some he committed while working as a substitute teacher.
Eddie Battles, 26, pleaded guilty last year to 11 counts of armed robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. U.S. District Judge Marcia Marcia Morales Howard sentenced Battles Wednesday during a hearing in federal court in Jacksonville.
Battles started robbing the stores in November 2011, mostly using a loaded pistol. Battles acted alone until March 2012 when his brother, Eric Williams, joined in the robberies.
Battles and Williams robbed four Dollar General stores and one Family Dollar store in North Florida, during March and April 2012. They were arrested after a robbery in Wellborn in April 2012.
Along with his job as a substitute teacher, Battles also worked as an assistant manager at the Dollar General store in Lake Park, Ga. It was the first store he robbed.
Battles’ brother pleaded guilty and is set to be sentenced April 14.
The Jacksonville, Hamilton County, Suwanee County and Lowndes County sheriff’s offices and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the crimes. Assistant United States Attorney Frank Talbot prosecuted the case as a part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program — a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy.