STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) – There was an FBI raid in Staten Island early Tuesday morning, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said.
FBI officials raided a house in Arden Heights in connection to a string of robberies that took place in Brooklyn and New Jersey between Jan. 20 and July 12, officials said.
Tony Claton and Lawrence Dotson, both of whom have a history of committing violent robberies, were taken into custody for their alleged roles in at least five robberies, officials said.
“The evidence is overwhelming,” read a statement obtained by PIX11 News. “Video footage, license plate readers, cellphone location data, records from Harbor Freight Tools and U-Haul, and eyewitness testimony all connect them to the robberies.”
The defendants’ histories of gun violence stretching back decades further helped establish their roles in each of the respected robberies, officials said. According to officials, both Claton and Dotson used guns and aggression when they robbed their victims.
One robbery took place can on Clinton Avenue in Staten Island on Jan. 20, officials said.
Surveillance video shows a man wearing a white painting suit and gloves walking in and out of an apartment complex. The video then shows a resident entering the vestibule and the man in the painting suit closing the door behind them.
The man in the painting suit then pointed a revolver at the victim and allegedly said “Don’t make this a homicide,” and struck the victim in the head with a gun, according to court documents. A second robber took the victim’s keys and tried to access his apartment. When he couldn’t get inside, the robbers fled in a U-Haul truck, officials said.
On June 3, Clanton and Dotson allegedly robbed Annadale Smoke Shop in Staten Island, located less than a mile from Dotson’s residence.
The defendants, both wearing masks, approached a worker and each displayed a firearm, officials said. The defendants then pushed the victim, tied up the clerk’s hands using zip ties, and pressed a gun to the back of the victim’s head, according to court documents.
The defendants took $4,700 from the victim and $1,000 in cash from the store’s register, officials said. They also took cigarettes from behind the counter.
Shortly after the Annadale Smoke Shop robbery, officials said Dotson’s Mercedes Benz was caught by a speed camera. A BMW registered to Clanton was also captured trailing Dotson’s Mercedes Benz, officials said. NYPD records show that a speeding ticket was issued to
Dotson’s white Mercedes at that location around the time of the robbery.
Three weeks later, on June 24, at Glutton Place in Staten Island, the two men allegedly attempted to force their way into a home. They displayed firearms but the victim was able to close the door and Claton and Dotson fled in their respective vehicles, according to officials.
On June 27, two men armed with guns impersonated FBI agents and attempted to rob a jewelry store owner at the victim’s home in Edison, New Jersey, court documents show. Video footage and license plate reader records show that Dotson’s Mercedes and Clanton’s BMW followed the jewelry store owner to his driveway, per court documents.
The two men allegedly approached the victim’s car while wearing masks and bulletproof vests with letters that read “FBI.” One of the men had a gun raised in his right hand and used it to knock on the passenger side window of the car and told him to get out, officials said.
It remains unclear what the robbers attempted to take from the jewelry store owner, officials said, but video footage from Harbor Freight Tools recorded a few days earlier shows Clanton buying zip ties, which can be linked to the smoke shop robbery.
On July 12, the defendants allegedly struck again. This time they targeted an owner of an ice cream store at the victim’s home in Brooklyn, officials said. Dotson and Claton had visited the owner’s ice cream store that same afternoon, authorities said. They stole $6,700 in cash from the store and exchanged the cash for larger bills at a TD Bank branch in Brooklyn, according to court documents.
If convicted, each man could face up to 20 years in prison.
Matthew Euzarraga is a multimedia journalist from El Paso, Texas. He has covered local news and LGBTQIA topics in the New York City Metro area since 2021. He joined the PIX11 Digital team in 2023. You can see more of his work here.