MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man who stole a woman’s SUV while armed in the city’s Bay View neighborhood less than a year after he was involved in a crash involving a stolen vehicle at the 128th Air Refueling Wing at General Mitchell International Airport was sentenced to prison on Wednesday, March 4.
Symmion Phillips, 18, in January pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery with threat of force, as party to a crime, and one count of operator flee/elude officer — bodily harm or property damage. In court on Wednesday, Phillips was sentenced to serve four years in prison and three years’ extended supervision on the armed robbery conviction, and three years in prison and three years’ extended supervision on the fleeing conviction — to be served concurrently — for a total of four years in prison and three years’ extended supervision. He received credit for 255 days’ time served.
The Bay View theft happened on June 23, 2019.
According to the criminal complaint, a woman called police after her vehicle was stolen at gunpoint on S. Williams Street just minutes before midnight. The complaint indicated the woman was in her SUV when a white car pulled up alongside her. The woman said a man she later identified in a lineup Phillips “got out of that car and pointed a black semi-automatic firearm at her face and demanded her property.” The woman complied. The complaint indicated the keys from the SUV were turned over to a second man who was with Phillips. Both vehicles were driven away.
The complaint said the next day, Milwaukee police spotted the stolen SUV in a parking lot near 25th Street and National Avenue. The officers pulled in behind the SUV and activated their lights and sirens. At that point, the complaint indicated the SUV, driven by Phillips, “fled at a high rate of speed.” The SUV traveled down S. 25th Street to Greenfield Avenue — “disregarding multiple stop signs” along the way. The complaint said the SUV clipped another vehicle.
“Coming right to the left of me was the white Jeep — coming full throttle, and my reflex said hit the gas — and hit right, and it clipped us, but it could have been worse,” said Jared Rivera.
Rivera’s vehicle suffered between $8,000 and $13,000 worth of damage.
“It’s traumatizing because now we have to live in fear of what can happen,” Rivera said.
The white SUV then collided head-on with a pickup truck at the intersection of 25th and Greenfield. At that point, the complaint said Phillips got out of the SUV and officers pursued him on foot. Eventually, they located Phillips “hiding underneath a car.”
“When I saw my car, I was sad,” said Maria Espinosa. “It was sad.”
“When I got to the lot, it was not damaged — it was completely totaled,” Espinosa said.
Phillips was one of three teens taken into custody after crashing a stolen car at the 128th Air Refueling Wing in October 2018. This, after leading police on a chase. Phillips pleaded guilty in that case — and was sentenced to nine months in the House of Correction after pleading guilty in March 2019.
“They have to be held more responsible than just a slap on the wrist,” Rivera said. “You can replace a vehicle. You can’t replace the lives in the vehicle.”