Updated: Arrest made in Champaign robbery

CHAMPAIGN - A Champaign man has been arrested in connection with the armed robbery of a west Champaign fast-food restaurant.

A release from Champaign police department spokeswoman Rene Dunn said Brion Howard, 21, was arrested inside an apartment in the 500 block of Crescent Drive not long after he allegedly robbed an employee of the Taco Bell, 1910 W. Springfield Ave.,

The release said about 9:06 a.m., a man approached an employee who arrived at the drive-through window of the business to pick up the company’s bank deposit bag and demanded money.

After getting it, the robber ran toward the apartment building on Crescent.
Because it was reported he had a gun, police secured the area around the apartment building, notified area schools and had an ambulance standing by in case any injuries were reported.

After conducting a search of the apartment building, police discovered that an apartment door had been forced open. Howard was found in the shower of that residence and arrested.

A resident who was in the apartment at the time was not harmed. Officers later located the gun in a utility closet in that same building.

Howard was arrested for armed robbery and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

Police had the area between Round Barn Road and John Street blocked off and an ambulance was sent to the area as a precaution, Dunn said.

The robbery had several Champaign schools on soft lockdown Friday morning at the advice of police, said Champaign school district spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart said. They were on lockdown until about 10:30 a.m.

The soft lockdown included several schools: Centennial High School, Jefferson Middle School, Robeson Elementary, Kenwood Elementary and Westview Elementary.

Stuart said a soft lockdown means no one can enter or exit the school buildings, but those inside can move about freely.

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