Two Nebraska men were sentenced this week for committing a series of armed robberies in Effingham, Ill., and the Metro East in April 2017. Allen McCray, 23, and Victor Linton, 27, of Omaha, appeared in federal district court in the Southern District of Illinois this week and were sentenced to 26 years and 24 years, respectively.
According to court documents, McCray, Linton, and a third man — Brandon D. English Jr., 21 — stole a Hyundai Santa Fe out of a Nebraska driveway and went on a weeklong, multistate crime spree. The first robbery took place on April 13, 2017, in Raytown, Mo., where they held up a convenience store. Receipts recovered later from the Santa Fe show they used the proceeds from the robbery to make cash purchases at Dollar General, Rally House, Foot Locker, and TJ Maxx locations in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Two nights later, the trio covered their hair and faces and entered a Moto Mart in O’Fallon, Ill., where English put a gun to the cashier’s head and demanded money. They also struck the cashier with her own purse before taking money out of her cash register and leaving. Less than an hour later, the men used similar methods to rob a Circle K in Troy, Ill., and a Casey’s General Store in Maryville.
After purchasing ammunition and attempting to purchase another gun, the three robbers left the Metro East, driving first to the Chicago area and from there to Indianapolis. They returned to Illinois on April 19, 2017, where McCray and Linton stopped in a Prime Sole shoe store in Effingham. When they tried to take merchandise without paying, a store employee confronted them. McCray pulled out a gun and fired a shot at the clerk. The two men then fled the scene with the stolen items.
McCray and Linton eventually abandoned the Santa Fe in Booneville, Mo., when they missed the turn into the Break Time gas station just after midnight on April 21, 2017. The men spotted a truck in the parking lot and fired six shots into the vehicle, striking the driver four times. Eventually, they stole another vehicle and led law enforcement on a chase through Lafayette County, Mo. Spikes were used to stop the vehicle, and the pair were taken into custody.
All three defendants entered guilty pleas to conspiracy, robbery (three counts), and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. McCray and Linton also pleaded guilty to a fourth robbery count and to discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
English was sentenced in December 2018 to 20 years in prison.
In addition to their terms of imprisonment, McCray and Linton will both serve five years of supervised release and pay $793.51 in restitution.
The FBI led the investigation, with assistance from state and local law enforcement agencies, including the O’Fallon Police Department, the Maryville Police Department, the Troy Police Department, Illinois State Police, and the Missouri Highway Patrol.