Driver in Plaza Frontenac Heist Sentenced to Federal Prison

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Mario Washington, 24, was sentenced for a 12-man heist at Saks Fifth Avenue. - IMAGES VIA ILLINOIS STATE POLICE/GOOGLE EARTH
  • Images via Illinois State Police/Google Earth
  • Mario Washington, 24, was sentenced for a 12-man heist at Saks Fifth Avenue.
The getaway driver in a chaotic smash-and-grab heist last year at Plaza Frontenac has been sentenced to two years in federal prison.

Mario Washington, 24, waited behind the wheel of a Dodge Journey on November 26 as eleven accomplices swarmed a Chanel boutique inside the mall's Saks Fifth Avenue store, authorities say.

The crew of thieves, who came to St. Louis from Chicago, bolted out of the door moments later with 30 handbags worth more than $100,000. Authorities say the bags had been attached by cable to glass shelves, but the crooks ripped the whole apparatus from the wall.

Seven then piled into the SUV as Washington punched the gas, leading police on a wild chase. Other defendants took off in a second car.

See Also: Federal Charges for Chicago Suspects in Plaza Frontenac Heist

Missouri cops soon dropped the pursuit, deciding it had become too dangerous, but the Dodge was eventually stopped by Illinois troopers and local police on the other side of the river.

Eight people were arrested from the Dodge. Washington is the fifth to be sentenced in federal court. (The defendants were also charged in state court.) Documents in the state court case identified another man, Derrick Crowder, as the driver, but federal prosecutors say it was Washington.

In April, Washington pleaded guilty to a federal charge of transporting stolen property across state lines. In addition to his prison sentence, a judge ordered him to undergo three years of supervised release. He and the others will also have to pay $159,000 in restitution.

His probation for his conviction in a state drug case in Illinois could also be revoked.

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