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CROWN POINT — A Schererville man pleaded guilty Friday to 17 counts of robbery and attempted robbery linked to a nearly three-week crime spree that left employees at many Region restaurants on edge.

Dionysios T. Doukas, 36, took a plea deal after Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez ruled a day earlier that prosecutors could call Doukas’ former finance to testify that Doukas described his M.O. to her in detail just weeks before the robbery spree.

Doukas first trial on four cases had been scheduled to begin April 8. 

Doukas told the woman during a late-night meeting at a McDonald’s restaurant that if he were to rob such establishments late at night, when few employees were present, he would use a fake gun wrapped in plastic.

Doukas did exactly that when he committed 18 robberies and attempted robberies in Crown Point, Griffith, Highland, Hobart, Munster, Schererville, St. John and West Creek Township, Lake Criminal Court records say.

Doukas robbed or attempted to rob 26 people between Oct. 31 and Nov. 19, 2017, at businesses that included Subway restaurants, other restaurants, convenience stores, gas stations, a natural foods store, hotels and a tanning salon, records say.

In exchange for Doukas' plea, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Toth agreed not to file charges in a Nov. 18, 2017, robbery at a Subway restaurant in Hammond.

Police arrested Doukas on Nov. 19, 2017, after he robbed a Subway off I-65 in unincorporated Lowell and led police on a chase to Chesterton.

Doukas’ attorney, Angela Jones, and Toth will be free to argue Doukas’ sentence, but he will receive no more than 20 years under the plea deal.

Each of the 17 counts to which Doukas admitted carries a sentence of one to six years in prison, with an advisory sentence of three years.

Vasquez set a sentencing hearing for May 17.

Doukas also has several pending cases in Porter and LaPorte counties that are related to the robbery spree.

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Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.