Cash America, EZ Pawn, Helzberg Diamonds, Midwest Title & Loan Robberies in Chicagoland
Federal Grand Jury Indicts 2 Suspects in Connection With Violent Robberies of a Chicago-Area Jewelry Store, a Title and Loan, and Pawn Shops Including One in Arlington Heights
CHICAGO — A federal grand jury has indicted two male suspects for allegedly conspiring to violently rob several pawn shops, currency exchanges, and other retail stores in Chicago and the suburbs.
The robbers wore masks and brandished dangerous weapons in 12 heists from July 2020 to January 2021, according to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The robbers stole jewelry valued at more than $305,000, as well as more than $22,000 in cash, the indictment states.
Charged with conspiracy to commit robbery are Falandis Russell, 25, of Chicago, and Terrance Williams, 24, of Chicago. Russell is currently in law enforcement custody. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday, March 2, 2021, and was scheduled to appear for a detention hearing Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert. Williams was ordered released on bond. His arraignment was set for Wednesday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang.
“The charges in this significant case are the result of the strong partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement in the Chicago area,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “We will continue working together to hold violent offenders accountable.”
“The defendants are accused of a multi-state, violent crime spree with 12 armed robberies in almost as many communities,” said FBI SAC Emmerson Buie. “The public should feel safer when doing business at local establishments, and we hope they feel secure knowing that justice is being done.”
The indictment identifies the 12 robberies allegedly carried out as part of the conspiracy:
July 31, 2020: Russell and others robbed Cash America, located in the 1800 block of River Oaks Drive in Calumet City.
Aug. 10, 2020: Russell and others robbed EZ Pawn, located in the 6100 block of South Archer Street in Summit.
Aug. 10, 2020: Russell and others robbed Cash America, located in the 4500 block of South Cicero Avenue in Chicago.
Aug. 28, 2020: Russell and Williams robbed Midwest Title & Loan, located in the 8300 block of South Cicero Avenue in Burbank.
Aug. 28, 2020: Russell and Williams robbed Cash America, located in the 6300 block of South Kedzie Avenue in Chicago.
Sept. 25, 2020: Russell, Williams, and others robbed Helzberg Diamonds, located in the 600 block of East Boughton Road in Bolingbrook.
Oct. 13, 2020: Russell, Williams, and others robbed EZ Pawn, located in the 300 block of West Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach.
Oct. 21, 2020: Russell and Williams robbed EZ Pawn, located in the 4800 block of South Ashland Avenue in Chicago.
Nov. 6, 2020: Russell, Williams, and others robbed Cash America, located in the 3200 block of West Lawrence Avenue in Chicago.
Dec. 16, 2020: Russell, Williams, and others robbed Cash America, located in the 6800 block of Indianapolis Boulevard in Hammond, Ind.
Jan. 19, 2021: Russell and others robbed EZ Pawn, located in the 900 block of East Irving Park Road in Streamwood.
Jan. 22, 2021: Russell and Williams robbed EZ Pawn, located in the 1700 block of West Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. Valuable assistance was provided by Police Departments in Chicago, Calumet City, Summit, Burbank, Bolingbrook, Round Lake Beach, Hammond (Ind.), Streamwood, and Arlington Heights. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. McCrobie.
According to the FBI, Falandis Russell and Terrance Williams conspired to commit a series of robberies at the businesses over a six-month period ending in February.
In each case, two to four men entered the stores, brandished weapons and robbed merchandise from the shop, according to an affidavit from FBI agent Dustin Gourley.
“During some of the robberies, the offenders carried a brick and a piece of rock or concrete, which were used to smash jewelry display cases to access the jewelry.”
— Dustin Gourley
Investigators compared security camera recordings from the robberies with social media posts, as well as booking photographs and body-worn camera recordings from Russell’s and Williams’ past encounters with Chicago police.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The charge in the indictment is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
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