Police arrest suspects within minutes of robbery
UPDATED 8:05 p.m.
CHAMPAIGN — Quick action by Champaign and University of Illinois police officers Friday morning resulted in the arrests of two men for robbing a UI student.
Champaign police Sgt. David Griffet said Officer Jeremy Canales was on patrol in the campus area when he was flagged down at 12:13 a.m. by a 20-year-old man who reported he had been robbed by two men, one of whom had a gun.
The victim told Canales that he had been walking east on John Street crossing Second Street when he passed two men wearing dark hooded sweatshirts. As he walked into a nearby courtyard, he said, the men ran toward him. One pointed what appeared to be a black semi-automatic weapon at his mid-section while the other ordered him to empty his pockets.
The victim gave up his cellphone and wallet and the two ran south toward Frat Park, which is between Second and Third streets and Armory Avenue and Daniel Street.
Griffet said Canales, who was at Third and John streets, was interviewing the victim while relaying the information to fellow officers.
Within moments, Officer Phil McDonald stopped one of the men, later identified as Uriah Watson, 17, of the 700 block of North Randolph Street, Champaign, near Chalmers and Fourth streets. He had the UI student’s cellphone in his pants pocket.
Meantime, UI police Officer Grant Briggs and an intern saw another man walking on Chalmers near Third who was emptying his pockets. They found a wallet and contents on the ground. The man they saw emptying his pockets, James F. Webb, 19, who listed an address in the 400 block of East Chalmers Street, Champaign, told police he didn’t know anything about a robbery and had found the wallet and credit cards on the ground.
Griffet said Champaign Officer Bill Killin recovered a blue hooded sweatshirt and a dark handgun that turned out to be a BB gun under the sign for the Evans Scholars house at 1007 S. Third St., C.
Watson and Webb were in police custody by 12:21 a.m., just eight minutes after the robbery was reported. The victim identified them as the men who robbed him.
The two were charged Friday with aggravated robbery, a Class 1 felony carrying penalties ranging from probation to four to 15 years in prison upon conviction.
Bond for both men was set at $100,000. They are both next scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 19.