MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Deon Brown, 28, Waukegan, Illinois, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 11 years in federal prison for robbery of a retail store in Lake Delton, Wisconsin. Brown pleaded guilty to this charge on January 26, 2022.
On July 28, 2020, Brown and co-defendant Cortez Thurmond robbed the Alpha Red Studio in Lake Delton. A few minutes later, and less than a mile away, the defendant and Thurmond robbed Gifts of the World retail store. Video surveillance from inside of Gifts of the World showed Thurmond and Brown taking money from the store and customers. During the robbery, Brown carried a firearm with an extended magazine and struck a customer in the back of the head with it. Another customer in the store reported that Brown punched her in the mouth before stealing her purse.
At the time of the robberies, Brown was on active state supervision in Illinois for a felony armed robbery conviction. At the sentencing hearing, Judge Peterson noted that Brown’s violent use of the firearm during the robberies had a terrorizing effect on the victims. Judge Peterson stated that the robbery of Gifts of the World was a “very calculated crime” as video surveillance showed Brown and Thurmond casing the store two hours before they robbed it. Judge Peterson also noted that Brown’s previous armed robbery conviction and the accompanying four-year prison sentence had not deterred him from engaging in the same criminal conduct.
Judge Peterson sentenced Thurmond on March 1, 2022 to 8 ½ years in prison for his role in the offense. In addition, on January 11, 2022, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin returned an indictment against Thurmond and Brown charging them with a conspiracy to rob various commercial establishments in Racine and Kenosha. With regard to these charges, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The charges against Brown and Thurmond were a result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Lake Delton Police Department, and the Racine Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wegner handled the prosecution.