Man pleaded guilty to robbing stores across Pierce County. Now he’s off to prison

A man who robbed multiple Pierce County stores at gunpoint from 2021 to 2022 has been sentenced.

Tyrone Anthony Prophet Jr., 31, pleaded guilty Friday to six counts of first-degree robbery. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stanley Rumbaugh sentenced him to 20 years, 9 months in prison, court records show.

Prophet robbed different Pierce County stores at gunpoint from October 2021 to early March 2022, documents show.

Prophet’s co-defendant, 32-year-old Arthur Dukes, pleaded guilty in late March to 10 counts of first-degree robbery for robbing 14 stores from December 2021 to January 2022. He was sentenced to 14 years and three months in prison, records show.

The arrests and charges came at a time when the Tacoma Police Department saw a significant increase in robberies during the first two months of 2022. Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 20, the department reported 146 robberies. During the same time in 2021, that number was 62, the News Tribune previously reported.

Prophet and Dukes were identified as the suspects through DNA evidence, witness statements, phone records and surveillance footage, charging documents show.

While Dukes was accused of robbing a different store every week, Prophet was tied to less frequent robberies, documents show. Prosecutors believe Prophet robbed the same T-Mobile store twice in October and December 2021. He was tied to robberies in Tacoma, Spanaway and Fife.

Prosecutors wrote that Prophet was reportedly calm and polite when he demanded money from the store clerks. He also carried his gun with him.

It is unclear how many robberies Dukes and Prophet committed together, but cell phone records and witness statements placed the men at at least two of them at the same time, documents show. Dukes also was captured on surveillance video Jan. 7 fleeing a robbery in Parkland and getting in a waiting getaway car.

Prophet was identified as being the getaway driver after a witness told police that his girlfriend was bragging about his role in the crime. Detectives were able to get Prophet’s cell records, which showed he was either at or near multiple robbery locations going back to October 2021.

Gunshots weren’t fired in any of the robberies, but prosecutors wrote in charging documents that Dukes threatened a store clerk at Batteries Plus at the Tacoma Mall, telling the employee he would be shot if he called anyone. During a Feb. 10 robbery tied to both men, prosecutors said Prophet struck a store clerk in the chest with his firearm.

In a statement to the court from August 2022, a small business owner who was victim to one of the robberies wrote that the incident caused personal stress.

“I am a small sole proprietor which means my business is my life. The amount of concern and worry for my staff and the future of the business that his crime has added to an already stressful environment is not really measurable,” the statement said. “For me, the added stress has contributed to sleeplessness, moderate health issues and a depressed mental state.”

Prophet was a felony conviction when he was sentenced in 2017 to give years in prison for shooting a Spanaway convenience store clerk during an attempted robbery. He was released in May 2021, according to records.