All Courts Police and Fire Content

All Courts Police and Fire Content

Extra patrols give towns sense of security

HENNING – Dennis Young, 33, guides his police car along quiet streets.

It's 6 p.m. on a Friday night, and Young has just started his shift, patrolling Henning as its police chief.

Eight men indicted in string of holdups

KANKAKEE – Federal prosecutors joined with police from Kankakee, Rantoul, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and several other agencies from the Kankakee area Friday in announcing the indictment of eight men believed responsible for five armed robberies in Illinois this year, including one in Rantoul last month.

A tip from a citizen who saw masked men entering the Community Plus Federal Credit Union in Rantoul on April 24 led to the arrest of the men. Police were at the credit union within seconds of receiving the woman's report. Six men were arrested that day. A seventh has since been indicted for the Rantoul holdup.

Police looking for woman who ran off with money

Champaign police are asking for the public's help in finding a woman who robbed the First Federal Savings Bank at 1912 W. Springfield Ave. on Friday afternoon.

The woman entered the bank at about 4:25 p.m., approached a bank teller and demanded money. The teller turned over an undisclosed amount of money and the suspect fled from the bank on foot, according to a news release.

Police obtain arrest warrant for suspect

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police are looking for a Chicago area man believed to be responsible for the murder of a man in Champaign last month.

Champaign police Lt. Joe Gallo said police obtained an arrest warrant Thursday for Robert Dashawn McCollum, 21, believed to be from Dolton, charging him with the April 20 first-degree murder of Charles E. Woodson II, 28, also of Dolton.

Ex-council member Pirtle to be tried this summer

URBANA – Former Champaign City Council member J.W. Pirtle will be tried this summer on involuntary manslaughter charges, in the wake of a judge's ruling validating the search of a home where a man died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Pirtle, 72, was indicted in September 2004 for involuntary manslaughter, a felony, and misdemeanor criminal housing management, in connection with the Jan. 29, 2004, death of Otha Lee Harmon, 41.

Group focuses on keeping system equal for all

URBANA – Disturbed by what it calls a "miscarriage of justice" in local courts, a new watchdog group is launching a criminal justice reform movement in Champaign County.

Community Court Watch formed two months ago, in part to focus public attention on the upcoming retrial of activist Patrick Thompson on home invasion and sexual abuse charges. He is accused of an attack on a neighbor in August 2004; his first trial ended in a hung jury.

Some counties to lose funds for enforcement

Dozens of alleged drug dealers were caught in a federally-funded sweep in several locations in East Central Illinois, but looming budget cuts would severely hamper such efforts, officials said Friday.

The Vermilion County Metropolitan Enforcement Group announced on Friday that officers arrested 25 people on Thursday who allegedly sold crack cocaine to undercover agents between March 15 and April 17.

Ruling means man may be tried for killing

SPRINGFIELD – An appeals court has overturned a Champaign County judge's ruling that threw out a man's murder indictment because he wasn't brought to trial within 120 days.

The ruling by the 4th District Appellate Court in Springfield means that Ramone D. Roebuck, 30, may be tried for the July 1, 2003, murder of Helen Melchi. The 84-year-old woman was found dead in her home at 1301 N. Hickory St., C, by relatives. She had been beaten and strangled, bound and gagged.

Police chief credits citizen for quick arrests

RANTOUL – Rantoul Police Chief Paul Farber said officers were quickly able to apprehend the men who robbed a Rantoul credit union on Monday thanks to help from an ordinary citizen.

Farber credited a passing motorist who flagged down Rantoul police Officer Joel McQueen after seeing armed men wearing blue ski masks walking into the Community Plus Federal Credit Union, 526 E. Champaign Ave., at 4:12 p.m. Monday.

Robbery similar to crimes around Kankakee

URBANA – Some of the six men accused of robbing a Rantoul credit union at gunpoint Monday are believed to be involved in several "takeover" armed robberies, according to the police chief in Kankakee.

A sixth man appeared Wednesday in federal court in Urbana on charges of armed robbery of the Community Plus Federal Credit Union, 526 E. Champaign St., Rantoul.