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18 years in prison for member of violent armed robbery crew that struck in Waukegan, Chicago area

Antonio Edwards, 26, of Chicago.

A Chicago man has been sentenced to more than 18 years in federal prison for participating in a violent robbery crew that targeted Chicago area businesses, including in Waukegan.

Antonio Edwards, 26, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and robbery charges, and a jury convicted him after a trial on charges of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

Edwards was part of a crew who conducted takeover-style robberies in which two or three robbers would enter a cell phone store and order employees to the back of the store at gunpoint, prosecutors said.

The robbers then loaded phones into bags and fled the store. Edwards personally participated in three of the heists, which took place in 2017.

Those three occurred in Chicago, Waukegan and Bradley. He brandished a gun during the Waukegan and Bradley robberies, federal prosecutors said.

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U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo imposed a prison sentence on Friday of 18 years and eight months for Edwards.

Two other members of the robbery crew – Andrew Mchaney, 29, of Chicago, and James Bates, 60, of Chicago – previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the robberies.

Mchaney was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison and Bates was sentenced to more than eight years.

The sentences were announced by John 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.

Assistance was provided by police departments in Chicago, Waukegan, Bradley, Mount Prospect, North Aurora, Skokie and Homewood.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aaron Bond and Kristen Totten.