Cops dismantled armed robbery crew with help from license plate reader technology: prosecutors

Chicago police dismantled another robbery crew after the city’s vast network of license plate readers led them to the group’s getaway car, according to prosecutors and a CPD report.

Robbery reports soared last year, up 23% from 2022 and up 38% compared to 2019, according to the police department. The robbery surge between July 1 and late November was the biggest spike in over 20 years, the Sun-Times reported.

Much of that increase can be attributed to small groups of armed robbers who commit several robberies during short sprees, then take a break before doing it again and again.

But two-thirds of one crew was taken off the streets last Thursday morning after they committed two holdups on fast food restaurant parking lots, officials said.

Treyvion Dawson, 18, is charged with two counts of armed robbery with a firearm. A 16-year-old boy arrested with him is charged with one count of armed robbery with a firearm, possessing a firearm with a defaced serial number, and misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle.

Dawson, who is on juvenile probation for a gun charge, was detained to await trial by Judge Maryam Ahmad.

“With all those services [available through the probation program], the risk to the public has not been mitigated,” Ahmad wrote in her detention order. She called electronic monitoring “insufficient to protect the public due to [Dawson’s] inability to conform his conduct.”

Treyvion Dawson | Cook County sheriff’s office

The first robbery occurred as the victim was walking through the Burger King parking lot at 2700 South Kedzie around 10:30 a.m. Dawson and the juvenile pulled up to him in a silver sedan, and the boy got out of the back seat with a handgun, prosecutors told Ahmad.

He demanded the victim’s wallet and money as Dawson allegedly got out of the car to assist. Cops got the car’s license plate number from a surveillance video and flagged it into CPD’s license plate reader system.

A few minutes later, the car rolled onto the parking lot at Dunkin, 4453 South Archer. Dawson got out and put a gun to the chest of a man who was walking across the lot, according to prosecutors. They said he demanded the man’s money and removed his wallet from his pants.

Meanwhile, the juvenile tried to rob the victim’s companion but fled before getting anything. 

Their getaway car, a stolen Infiniti, started pinging on license plate readers, and cops soon located the vehicle in the 3400 block of West Carrol. The officers saw Dawson, the juvenile, and a third person get out of the car and walk away, according to prosecutors.

The third person got away. The juvenile dropped a gun as he ran away, but cops caught up with him and recovered the firearm. Police said the Dunkin victim identified it as the weapon that had been placed to his chest.

Dawson, who was wearing a cast on a broken foot, did not run. CPD officers said they found the Burger King victim’s credit card in Dawson’s pants pocket.

About Tim Hecke 326 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is