GREENEVILLE — A Bluff City man who pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of the Check Into Cash location on Volunteer Parkway in Bristol, Tenn., could face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced later this summer.
Geoff Billips faces a four-count indictment in U.S. District Court charging him with robbery, carjacking and brandishing a firearm during the course of each crime. Billips pleaded guilty in April to robbery and one brandishing charge and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 28.
Billips faces up to 20 years in prison on the robbery charge, a minimum of seven years in prison on the brandishing charge and up to a $250,000 fine on each charge.
According to the plea agreement, Bristol, Tenn., police responded to the Check Into Cash on Volunteer Park in December 2012 regarding an armed robbery. Employees told police Billips entered the business, pulled out a black firearm, pulled the slide back and laid the weapon on the counter.
According to court records, Billips demanded all of the money from a female employee, who complied, and then he walked out of the business and ran toward Volunteer Parkway.
While police were still responding and canvassing the area, another 911 call came in from Ed’s Pizza, which is located across the street from the recently robbed Check Into Cash.
According to court records, Billips again brandished a firearm and approached a man exiting Ed’s Pizza; the man immediately fled into Ed’s Pizza and Billips threw a bag near the entrance of the restaurant and walked toward Bluff City Highway.
When officers approached Billips, he appeared to be surprised, “very nervous” and could not form a coherent sentence when asked questions. Billips gave a conflicting story about his vehicle having a flat tire and how he was searching for a friend of a relative who lived in the area.
At that point, police detained Billips and soon after discovered some clothing and a pair of sunglasses that matched the description worn by the robber. Officers also found a loaded 9mm pistol, a small bag of loose cash near Ed’s Pizza and Billips’ vehicle parked near Check Into Cash.
Billips told officers he would never hurt anyone and that the pistol was just for show.