Tri-state crime spree that robbed Brooklyn ice cream man ended as Federal authorities arrest two men

July 26, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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The five-month-long crime spree in the tri-state area that left communities in constant fear has finally come to an end. Tony Clanton and Lawrence Dotson were arrested by federal authorities on Tuesday, putting a stop to a string of alleged robberies spanning from January to July 2023.

The duo, who both have previous criminal records and have served prison time, are believed to have conducted at least five armed robberies, with targets ranging from commercial establishments to residential homes. The arrests took place in Staten Island, followed by arraignment before a federal judge in Brooklyn on charges of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery using firearms.

The authorities linked the men to their first alleged crime of 2023, a home invasion in Staten Island on Jan. 20. Dressed in Tyvek-style painting suits and arriving in a rented U-Haul truck, Clanton and Dotson were thwarted by two residents in the home’s vestibule, resulting in a violent altercation and an unsuccessful attempt to enter the residence.

Their crime spree allegedly continued with the armed robbery of the Annadale Smoke Shop on Staten Island on June 3. Surveillance footage and cell phone records placed the defendants at the scene, where they reportedly stole about $5,700 and several packages of cigarettes after restraining an employee.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

On June 24, authorities say the men attempted to rob a friend of Dotson’s in a menacing home invasion. The victim was able to lock the assailants out of his home, averting the robbery.

Just three days later, in a foiled heist in Edison, New Jersey, the pair allegedly impersonated FBI agents to intimidate a jewelry store owner. Their plan was once again derailed when the quick-thinking victim managed to escape.

The final reported crime came on July 12, when the men allegedly trailed and robbed an ice cream store owner in Brooklyn, making away with $6,700 in cash.

Prosecutors are building their case on a collection of surveillance footage, cell phone records and eyewitness testimonies. As the legal proceedings unfold, communities across the tri-state area breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this reign of terror has, at least for now, come to an end.


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