CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–April 24, 2014. Three Chicago men are facing federal charges for their alleged roles in a series of armed robberies of various retail businesses in Chicago and several suburbs late last year and early this year, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The indictments charge nine armed robberies and an attempted armed robbery of gas stations, convenience stores, jewelry stores, and others businesses in Chicago, Arlington Heights, Berwyn, Glenview, Hometown, Lincolnwood, North Chicago, Skokie, and Wilmette between October 2013 and February this year.
Two defendants, TYREE CRAIG, 29, and JACOBI PICKETT, 21, were charged together in a 13-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury yesterday. They were each charged with one count of robbery conspiracy, eight counts of robbery, two counts of brandishing a firearm during a violent crime, and Pickett alone was charged with being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.
Craig was also charged with JARRYL WILLIAMS, 42, in a separate four-count federal indictment involving the Jan. 10 armed robbery, involving four suspects, of James and Williams Jewelers, located at 7020 West Cermak Rd., in Berwyn. Craig and Williams were each charged with one count of robbery conspiracy, attempted robbery, and brandishing a firearm. Williams, who was shot by a store security officer, was also charged with being a felon-in-possession of a firearm with a partially obliterated serial number.
Craig and Williams have each pleaded not guilty to the charges involving the Berwyn attempted robbery. Craig and Pickett are scheduled to be arraigned on May 1 in U.S. District Court. Craig and Williams were initially arrested previously on related state charges but were later transferred to federal custody, where they remain. Pickett has been in federal custody since he was arrested in March on a criminal complaint.
According to the Craig and Pickett indictment returned yesterday, both defendants allegedly participated in the following robberies:
Dunkin Donuts, 3910 West Touhy Ave., Lincolnwood, on Oct. 20, 2013;
Phillips 66 gas station, 1234 Sheridan Rd., North Chicago, on Oct. 21, 2013;
Shell gas station, 9600 Crawford Ave., Skokie, on Oct. 21, 2013;
Shell gas station, 3 East Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, on Oct. 31, 2013;
Marathon gas station, 242 Waukegan Rd., Glenview, on Oct. 31, 2013;
Shell gas station, 5055 Touhy Ave., Skokie, on Nov. 30, 2013; and
Seven-Eleven, 500 Skokie Blvd., Wilmette, on Nov. 30, 2013.
Craig alone was also charged with the Dec. 13, 2013, robbery of Ted’s Jewelers, 5334 South Archer Ave., Chicago, while Pickett alone was charged with the Feb. 19, 2014, robbery of EZ Pawn store, 4080 Southwest Hwy., Hometown, in which jewelry valued at approximately $73,000 was stolen.
According to court documents, the charges stem from an FBI investigation of a series of similar armed robberies and attempted robberies last fall and winter of retail stores and businesses in Chicago, as well as northern and western suburbs. Typically, one or more participants entered each business and brandished a black semi-automatic handgun while demanding money or jewelry, and, in some instances Newport cigarettes. The participant or participants attempted to disguise their appearance but video surveillance provided a similar pattern of clothing and appearance.
The investigation is continuing.
Each count of robbery and robbery conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and each count of brandishing a firearm carries a consecutive, mandatory minimum of seven years in prison and a maximum of life. Williams and Picket also faces a maximum 10-year sentence on the felon-in-possession charges. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The indictments were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of the FBI and the Chicago Police Department. The police departments in Chicago, Arlington Heights, Berwyn, Glenview, Hometown, Lincolnwood, North Chicago, Skokie, and Wilmette also assisted in the investigation, as well as the Illinois State Police.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsay Jenkins and Angel Krull.
The public is reminded that indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.