Guilty plea to bank robbery brings 5-year prison term

Guilty plea to bank robbery brings 5-year prison term

URBANA — A Champaign man who admitted he robbed a bank in Champaign earlier this spring has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Lorenzo Cooper, 58, whose last known address was in the 400 block of South State Street, pleaded guilty before Judge Tom Difanis on Thursday to robbing the First Midwest Bank at 812 W. Springfield Ave., C, on March 27.

Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar said about 9 a.m. that day, Cooper entered the bank wearing a ball cap and handed a teller a note instructing her to put money in a bag, which she did. The charge alleged only that Cooper threatened force but did not accuse him of having a weapon.

Cooper was arrested about 6 1/2 hours later at Nugent Hall, a University of Illinois residence hall on Gregory Drive in Champaign. He worked there as a personal assistant to a disabled student who lived in that residence hall.

UI police Lt. Roy Acree said the students who live there hire their own caregivers so the UI does not do any background checks on those employees.

Within minutes of the bank surveillance photo of the robber being put online by local media, Cooper was identified. He admitted he did the holdup, Lozar said. Cooper apparently tried to use the money to get his car out of a repair shop.

Lozar said Cooper had prior convictions for arson, forgery and theft.

In other criminal cases recently resolved with guilty pleas:

— Kydel Brown, 18, who listed an address in the 1200 block of Joanne Lane, Champaign, was sentenced to seven years in prison for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. Brown pleaded guilty to having a pistol on March 15 at a time he was on parole. Lozar said Urbana police found the loaded .357 on Brown when they responded to a domestic dispute he was involved in on Lierman Avenue. Because of prior convictions for robbery and burglary, Brown had to be sentenced as a Class X felon to between six and 30 years in prison.

— Aron White, 20, of Longview, pleaded guilty to theft with a prior theft conviction and was sentenced to two years of conditional discharge, a form of probation without reporting to an officer. He was also ordered to pay $400 restitution to the Savoy Walmart. He admitted that in November, he stole merchandise from the store where his grandmother, Patricia Malloch, 60, on Tolono, was employed as a greeter. She pleaded guilty in March to theft, admitting she allowed White and her son, Kenneth Coffman, 41, of Tuscola, to leave the store with merchandise without paying for it. Coffman also pleaded guilty to theft with a prior theft and mother and son were each sentenced to two years of probation. Malloch was ordered to pay about $1,500 in restitution and Coffman about $65.

— Deandre Dobynes, 22, who listed an address in the 1200 block of West Eads Street, Urbana, was sentenced to 26 days in jail for obstructing identification, a misdemeanor. He admitted he gave a false name to an Urbana police officer who was trying to get his name on May 6 as he investigated a crime on North Lincoln Avenue. At the time, Dobynes was on probation for a forgery to which he had pleaded guilty in October. In that previous case, Dobynes paid for a food order that was delivered to an address on Beech Street in Urbana with a counterfeit $100 bill in May 2011.

— Gregory Depriest, 37, whose last known address was on Sangamon Avenue in Rantoul, was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to domestic battery with a prior domestic battery conviction. He admitted that on March 25 he struck a St. Joseph woman. In return for his plea, another case charging him with home invasion involving the same woman and violation of bail bond was dismissed. Depriest was also ordered to pay a $210 fine and attend partner abuse and anger management classes.