Cahokia Man Sentenced for Robbery of Chili's Bar and Grill
Daniel W. Amerson, 26, of Cahokia, Illinois, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three year term of supervised release, and ordered to pay $1,883.30 in restitution, following his plea of guilty to an indictment charging Interference with Commerce by Violence, a violation of the Hobbs Act, in connection with the robbery of Chili’s Bar and Grill in Fairview Heights on August 1, 2013, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois announced today. Amerson has been in custody since his arrest on August 1, 2013.
“Creative charging decisions and lengthy federal sentences are only a few of the tools that I will continue to use in order to combat the rash of armed robberies that has been plaguing the metro east.” said United States Attorney Wigginton. “Part of the message is to let persons know that their actions may result in a harsh federal prison sentence, far from their friends and families. Think before you act. Simply, don’t do the crime.”
According to documents filed in court, on August 1, 2013, at approximately 9:24 p.m., Amerson, and his co-defendants entered Chili’s [Restaurant in Fairview Heights, Illinois] to commit a robbery. Amerson and one of his co-defendants were masked and armed with BB guns which resembled genuine semi-automatic firearms. The third co-defendant was unarmed and unmasked. In total, over twenty customers and employees were present in the restaurant when the defendants entered a side door to commit the robbery. The manager was ordered at gunpoint to open the safe, which contained a cash drawer and box. Amerson and a co-defendant maintained watch over customers and employees (some of whom were ordered to the back of the restaurant and the ground) while monies were being taken. Some customers fled the restaurant during the robbery. Having obtained monies from the restaurant, the defendants departed in their getaway car. An alert customer was able to record the Missouri license plate number of the getaway car, and to provide it to police during a 911 call.
Police officers quickly located the getaway car on westbound Interstate 64, headed to Missouri, and activated their lights and sirens near the foot of the MLK Bridge. The defendants did not obey the directive to stop the car, passed another motorist by driving on the shoulder, and drove at a high rate of speed (60 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone) into the City of St. Louis until encountering a dead end.
The defendants attempted to flee the police on foot, but were quickly caught. The getaway car was found to contain masks, two Daisy Powerline Model 340 BB guns, a cash register drawer and a cash box. In total, approximately $800 was recovered from the car and the path of flight.
This case was investigated by the Fairview Heights Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne M. Garrison.