Chicago robbery crew leader convicted in nine armed robberies

By Bill Dwyer for Chronicle Media

U.S. Northern District federal court at the Dirksen Federal Building

A self-acknowledged Chicago street gang member who led an armed robbery crew targeting businesses on the city’s North and Northwest sides was convicted in federal court Dec. 21 on all 12 robbery, firearm and conspiracy charges against him.

Robert L. Berrios, 50, was suspected in a total of 12 armed robberies, mostly at cellular phone retail outlets. A jury convicted him in nine of those robberies.

Berrios, also known as “Chazzo,” was arrested in November 2012 and has been held in the downtown Chicago Metropolitan Correctional facility since then. He faces a minimum sentence of 22 years and a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced March 22.

The other three men indicted with Berrios have all pleaded guilty as charged. Julio Rodriguez, 36, David Revis, 37, and Luis Diaz, 33, all of Chicago, previously pleaded guilty and admitted their roles in the crimes. Revis was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Diaz was sentenced to three years. Rodriguez is awaiting sentencing.

At the time of his 2012 arrest, Berrios was on parole from a 30-year state sentence for a 1998 armed robbery, one of his four robbery convictions. He served 13 years in prison for that crime.

Evidence presented at Berrios’ trial showed that he and his co-conspirators worked together to identify businesses to target and obtain intelligence about the locations, including store hours and number of employees working at a given time.  The crew communicated with one another via cell phone to plan the robberies.

Employees of the targeted stores were threatened with hand guns and bound hand and foot with zip ties by Barrio’s crew.

The crew’s downfall started when a passerby witnessed them push a currency exchange employee inside the Milwaukee Avenue business as she unlocked the front door the morning of Aug. 15, 2012.

That witness parked and watched as the crew exited the currency exchange several minutes later and entered a waiting car. The witness was able to give police a description of the car and a partial license plate number.

Based on that, authorities were able to identify the vehicle’s owner and establish surveillance. A later traffic stop of the car by Chicago police identified the passenger as Berrios.

Berrios was subsequently identified from a photo array by the victim of an October 2012 cell phone store robbery.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Barrios’ cell phone data showed him to be in the vicinity of the cell phone store at the time of the robbery.


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— Chicago robbery crew leader convicted in nine armed robberies  —-