An Atlanta man who terrorized at least nine Asian-owned businesses in the fall of 2017 has been convicted by a federal jury of armed robbery and several other charges.
The jury found 23-year-old Dravion Sanchez Ware guilty of “multiple” Hobbs Act offenses and four counts of discharging a firearm during an armed robbery for his Oct. and Nov. 2017 crimes.
During the armed robberies, which occurred at three businesses in Atlanta, two in Doraville and one each in Norcross, Duluth, Stone Mountain and Roswell, Ware and his co-defendant, Tabyron Rashad Smith, who previously pleaded guilty, violently attacked several victims, U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said.
“(Ware) pistol-whipped several victims, terrified many others, and even shot three women during one of the robberies,” Pak said. “One of Ware’s victims attempted to avoid detection while squatting on her knees, facedown, behind a cash register. Ware then calmly walked up behind her and shot her in the back at point-blank range.”
Ware was captured on Nov. 22, 2017 after the FBI led a multi-jurisdictional investigation, which included aid from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Doraville Police Department, the Fulton County Police Department, the Gwinnett County Police Department, the Atlanta Police Department, the Roswell Police Department and the Sandy Springs Police Department.
“Ware terrified his innocent victims, demonstrating a callous disregard for the lives of these small business owners and their customers,” Pak said. “The courage of his victims, and the coordination of federal and local law enforcement officers who were determined to bring him to justice, will ensure he faces a very lengthy prison sentence.”
Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta field office, said he hopes the victims, who “will be emotionally scarred forever,” can “rest easier knowing that Ware will not traumatize any more victims like they were, for a long, long time.”
Several local police department heads — including Atlanta Police Department Chief Erika Shields, Roswell Police Department Chief James Conroy, Interim Doraville Police Department Chief Chuck Atkinson and Gwinnett County Police Department Chief A.A. “Butch” Ayers — commended the inter-agency collaboration in arresting Ware and Smith.
“The series of crimes committed by these perpetrators are a prime example of the need for strong working relationships between federal and local agencies,” Ayers said. “Criminals do not abide by jurisdictional boundaries. The knowledge that law enforcement works together across those boundaries should discourage others who would commit such crimes.”
U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten, Sr. will sentence Ware on Nov. 5.