Police looking into rash of robberies

Police in Champaign and Urbana are investigating several separate robberies over the past four days.

The latest robbery reported involves a man who was hitchhiking back from the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis to Iowa early Monday, according to Champaign police.

The hitchhiker reported that he was picked up on Interstate 74 and taken to an alley behind the 1300 block of North Champaign Street and that he waited on the porch with residents there for three to four hours, police said.

About 2:40 a.m. Monday, the hitchhiker was robbed by a man with a shotgun, police said.

In other cases, Champaign had two robberies Saturday morning apparently involving a man with similar descriptions, according to Champaign police spokeswoman Joan Walls.

One robbery was reported about 1 a.m. Saturday at Burch Village family public housing, 504 E. Bradley Ave., C. Witnesses said there was an apparent robbery but police could find no victim, Walls said.

Police made a traffic stop of a car that matched a description given by witnesses, but no arrests were made, she said.

Two other robberies were reported in the 200 block of West Eureka Street about 8:35 a.m. Saturday and then about 9:35 a.m. in the 800 block of North Randolph Street. Both involved a man with a gun wearing a red shirt, Walls said.

In the North Randolph Street robbery, a 28-year-old man told police he was approached by a stranger who displayed a gun and demanded his wallet. Police stopped a man matching a description given by the robbery victim, but the victim could not identify the person as the one who robbed him, according to a Champaign police report.

Police did arrest a 27-year-old Champaign man on an unrelated warrant, the report said.

Another robbery was reported about 12:30 a.m. Monday near the intersection of Washington and Ash streets, according to a separate report. A 42-year-old man reported that someone demanded his wallet and ran away after taking it, the report said.

In Urbana, a robbery was reported at the Europe Inn, 520 N. Cunningham Ave., U, about 12:45 a.m. Friday. An 18-year-old Chicago Heights man told police that an acquaintance came into his motel room, displayed a handgun and battered him, then took cash out of his pockets, according to Urbana Lt. Michael Metzler. The 18-year-old was treated for bruises and cuts at Carle Foundation Hospital and released, Metzler said.

Anyone with information about any of the robberies is urged to call Champaign County Crimestoppers at 373-8477.

You can reach Steve Bauer at (217) 351-5318 or via e-mail at sbauer@news-gazette.com.

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