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Elgin man sentenced to prison for robberies with toy gun

A west suburban man was sentenced to a dozen years in prison Wednesday for robbing nine suburban robberies with a toy handgun.

Kane Circuit Judge John Barsanti sentenced Fernando D. Zavala, 41, to 12 years, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office. Zavala, of the 200 block of North Guilford Avenue in Elgin, pleaded guilty March 1 to nine counts of armed robbery.

Zavala confessed to stealing:

— $1,777 in cash from the 800 block of Walnut in Elgin on Aug. 14, 2011;

— $6,390 from the 900 block of North Liberty in Elgin on Oct. 27, 2011;

— $1,800 from the 200 block of South State in Elgin on Nov. 20, 2011;

— $3,898 from the 300 block of South McLean Boulevard in Elgin on Nov. 30, 2011;

— $300 in cash from the 500 block of Dundee Avenue in East Dundee on Jan. 18, 2012;

— $3,569 from the 900 block of East New York Street in Aurora on Jan. 22, 2012;

— $3,397 from the 200 block of South State Street in Elgin on March 7, 2012;

— $1,300 from the 300 block of South Maclean in Elgin on May 25, 2012; and

— $1,070 from the 1200 block of North Lake Street in Aurora on June 22, 2012.

Zavala was arrested in June 2012 after leading Aurora police on a short pursuit after officers responded to a hold-up alarm at the Check-N-Go in the 1200 block of North Lake Street, according to Aurora police.

Witnesses said he entered the store, displayed a gun and demanded money from two female clerks, Aurora police said. One of the employees activated a panic alarm, prompting an immediate police response. After taking money from the cash drawers, he ordered the employees to open the safe, but when he learned it was equipped with a 10-minute delay, he ran out.

By that time, police arrived and saw him get into a green minivan, Aurora police said. The officer repeatedly ordered him to stop, but he drove around the officer. Other officers pursued the minivan until it was stopped and Zavala was taken into custody without incident.

The officers recovered the weapon — a toy plastic gun — and $1,070 in cash.

Zavala was given day-for-day sentencing and at least 292 days spent in the Kane County Jail, the state’s attorney’s office said. The sentence will be served concurrent to a six-year sentence for similar robberies in Cook County.


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