Federal prosecutors: Man who admitted to robbing 7 ALDI stores in 6 months ‘to pay rent’ pleads guilty

CUDAHY — A Cudahy man federally indicted in connection with seven armed robberies at ALDI stories in Wisconsin (one in Indiana), taking place over a six-month period has reached a plea deal.

The crimes are as follows:

  • June 15, 2017: ALDI Foods located at 3105 South Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee
  • July 10, 2017: ALDI Foods located at 4615 West Layton Ave., Greenfield
  • Aug. 1, 2017: ALDI Foods located at 1521 Unity Drive, Oconomowoc
  • Sept. 16, 2017: ALDI Foods located at 19555 West Bluemound Rd., Town of Brookfield
  • Oct. 7, 2017: ALDI Foods located at 3925 Lein Rd., Madison
  • Nov. 2, 2017: ALDI Foods located at 3105 South Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee (attempted robbery)
  • Nov. 24, 2017: ALDI Foods located at 10 81st Ave., Merrillville, Indiana

Hiram Graham has agreed to plead guilty to five counts in an eight-count indictment charging him with Hobbs Act robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence — and a “two-count information:”

Count 1:

  • June 15, 2017
  • ALDI on S. Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee

Count 3:

  • July 10, 2017
  • ALDI on W. Layton Ave., Greenfield

Count 5:

  • Aug. 1, 2017
  • ALDI on Unity Dr., Oconomowoc

Count 7:

  • Sept. 16, 2017
  • ALDI on W. Bluemound, Brookfield

These counts involve unlawfully obstructing, delaying and affecting commerce and the movement of articles and commodities in commerce by robbery — unlawfully taking and obtaining U.S. currency belonging to the ALDI store, from and in the presence of employees of the ALDI store against their will by means of actual and threatened force, violence, and fear of injury.

Count 8:

  • Sept. 16, 2017

This count involves knowingly using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, namely robbery.

Two-count information:

Count 1:

  • Oct. 7, 2017
  • ALDI on Lien Rd., Madison

Count 2:

  • Nov. 24, 2017
  • ALDI on W. Lincoln Hwy., Merrillville, Indiana

These counts involve unlawfully obstructing, delaying and affecting commerce and the movement of articles and commodities in commerce by robbery — unlawfully taking and obtaining U.S. currency belonging to the ALDI store, from and in the presence of employees of the ALDI store against their will by means of actual and threatened force, violence, and fear of injury.

Counts 1, 3, 5 and 7 carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and a mandatory special assessment of $100.

Count 8 carries a mandatory minimum penalty of seven years to a maximum of life in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a maximum $250,000 fine and up to five years of supervised release, with a mandatory special assessment of $100.

All other charges have been dismissed as a result of the plea deal.

According to the federal court documents, Graham got away with the following amounts of money when committing these crimes:

  • June 15, 2017: ALDI in South Milwaukee
    $6,025
  • July 10, 2017: ALDI in Greenfield
    $8,257
  • Aug. 1, 2017: ALDI in Oconomowoc
    $9,475
  • Sept. 16, 2017: ALDI in Brookfield
    $4,390
  • Oct. 7, 2017: ALDI in Madison
    $5,482
  • Nov. 24, 2017: ALDI in Merrillville, Indiana
    $9,300

The documents indicate after the crime in Madison — a fingerprint was lifted from an ALDI bag left behind by the suspect, and that fingerprint was identified as belonging to Hiram Gram. Days later, Madison police met with a robbery victim and a sketch was created of the suspect — which “appeared to have similar features as Graham.”

After learning that the suspect appeared to have inside knowledge of ALDI and its protocols, investigators learned Graham had been employed as a shift manager at ALDI on West Cleveland Ave. in Milwaukee. The federal court documents indicate Graham wwas hired in 2011 and fired for stealing food from ALDI. He left the company on Feb. 14, 2017.

The court documents show Graham provided investigators with a telephone number during a traffic stop in November of 2017, and that cellphone was found to have been near some of the ALDI stores when these crimes took place — including the store in Brookfield and the store in Madison.

ALDI robberies

When search warrants were executed on two of Graham’s residences, the documents show clothing items consistent with those worn by the suspect during these crimes were located — and a 9mm handgun was found in a kitchen.

Graham was arrested by the FBI’s Milwaukee Area Violent Crime Task Force (MAVCTF) around 6:00 am on Dec. 8, 2017 — as the search warrants were executed.

This, after the FBI announced in November a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

The documents show initially, Graham denied any involvement in these crimes, but he eventually admitted to all of them. He told investigators he bought the gun at Gander Mountain — and said it was unloaded for all of the robberies except for the attempted robbery in South Milwaukee. He said he went to Indiana “because of the press coverage on the Milwaukee-area robberies.” He indicated that he used the proceeds from the robberies “to pay rent” at his primary home and to complete renovations to the upstairs bathroom at his parents’ home.

ALDI robberies

The court documents note that restitution has been set at $36,866.98 — the amount of criminal proceeds in this case, and further state that Graham has agreed to the forfeiture of his 2005 Jaguar.