Oh, thank heaven! Cops track down man who’s been robbing downtown convenience stores, prosecutors say

Andre Robinson | CPD

Update November 9, 2021 — Andre Robinson pleaded guilty to four counts of armed robbery. Judge Timothy Joyce sentenced him to four eight-year sentences to be served concurrently. After receiving a 50% sentence reduction for good behavior and credit for 293 days he spent in jail before pleading, Robinson is scheduled to be released on October 11, 2024.

An observant 7-Eleven employee who recognized the man who robbed his River North store on Friday morning gave cops all the info they needed to track the offender down hours later. And, prosecutors say, the robber admitted to robbing several other 7-Eleven stores so he could re-sell stolen cigarettes for profit.

Andre Robinson, 31, is charged with one count of Class X felony armed robbery for allegedly holding up the convenience store at 645 North Kingsbury shortly before 7 a.m. Friday.

During a bond hearing Sunday, prosecutors said Robinson walked behind the counter and told the employee not to move as he wielded a black-handled knife. The clerk raised his hands and moved out of the robber’s way. Robinson then placed boxes of cigarettes into a bag and walked out, according to prosecutors.

But the clerk realized the robber looked like the guy who held up a 7-Eleven store at 1036 North Dearborn earlier in the week. Detectives learned that the cashier in the earlier case followed the robber to an apartment complex in the 100 block of West Elm. Investigators went there and found Robinson outside, prosecutors said. He had possession of a knife with a black handle when they took him into custody, according to police.

During questioning, Robinson told detectives that he had robbed several 7-Eleven stores, including the one on Kingsbury, prosecutors said. He allegedly admitted to always taking cigarettes so he could sell them.

Robinson, who has a pending criminal damage case, is also wanted for habitual criminality in Wisconsin, but the arrest warrant is not extraditable, according to prosecutors.

Judge Susan Ortiz set bail for Robinson at $50,000. Ortiz said he must go onto electronic monitoring if he can post the required $5,000 deposit bond.

Before Robinson was arrested, Area Three detectives released a community alert that linked the robberies on Kingsbury and Dearborn to the October 9 robbery of 7-Eleven at 45 East Chicago. So far, Robinson is only charged with the Kingsbury case.

CWBChicago reported on September 29 that convenience store robberies were up 100% in the city this year, putting 2020 on-pace to be the worst year for such crimes since at least 2001.

Police reports indicate that, while robbers often take the stores’ unsecured cash, they are also taking large volumes of high-priced merchandise, particularly cigarettes and cigars. The tobacco products are easily resold on the black market, according to police sources.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com