Two teens charged with iPhone robbery

URBANA — Two Centennial High School students have been charged with robbery for allegedly taking an iPhone from a fellow student in Champaign.

Tresor Banao, 19, who listed an address in the 1400 block of Paula Drive, Champaign, was arraigned Tuesday on the Class 2 felony charge and told to be back in court Jan. 14.

Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler said Banao and a 14-year-old male with him robbed an 18-year-old male on Nov. 18 after he stepped off a Mass Transit District bus near Second Street and University Avenue. Ziegler said the 18-year-old had his phone out on the bus and that Banao and the younger teen decided they were going to take it.

Once the victim stepped off the bus, Banao allegedly knocked him to the ground and struck him while the younger teen grabbed the phone.

Ziegler said the victim did not personally know the two but recognized them from school. Champaign police obtained video from the bus before making the arrests. Ziegler said the 14-year-old was also charged with robbery in a juvenile petition.

Banao was ordered to have no contact with the teen he's accused of robbing. Judge John Kennedy set his bond at $15,000. If convicted, he faces penalties ranging from probation to two to five years in prison.

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Skepticity wrote on November 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Per the Champaign Circuit Clerk website, Mr. Banao was previously charged as an adult on 09/17/12 for Class 2 Felony Aggravated Battery/Peace Officer.  This was when he was 17, just before he had his 18th birthday, but the adult charge was dismissed 02/19/2013, and the charge was transfered to Juvenile court.  Juvenile court records are not a matter of public record, so the consequences of that proceding are unknown.  We also don't know the number of juvenile offenses for which Mr. Banao was determined guilty, and what those consequences were.  We also don't know about whether there have been charges in other counties. 

The report above indicates that "the 18-year-old (the alleged victim) had his phone out on the bus and that Banao and the younger teen decided they were going to take it.."  Additionally reported is that "Once the victim stepped off the bus, Banao allegedly knocked him to the ground and struck him while the younger teen grabbed the phone."

Why is there no corresponding Battery or Aggravated Battery charge? He allegedly knocked him to the ground and struck him while the juvenile stole the phone!

If a young adult is willing to work with a teen to attack someone and steal a phone from them in public as the victim leaves the bus, there should be more charges!  Disorderly conduct? Battery?  Conspiracy to commit felony robbery?  Contributing to the delinquency of a minor? 

Criminals who engage in violent acts, (or use weapons, or enter residences) need meaningful consequences that take them off the street.  When will our courts assure that habitual criminals are not repeatedly offending and endangering the citizens of the community?  When you knock someone down and hit them, you are placiing the victim at great risk of harm. 

Has the concept of Public Safety been lost in wheels of the the plea bargain machine? 

If Mr. Banao is found guilty sometime in the next couple of years after repeated continuances, he is likely to get probation or maybe at best he will get a few months boot camp.  Maybe they will even make a plea deal for this charge to be dropped and for him to be resentenced in the juvenile case!  If Mr. Banao makes bond during the continued trial process, he may get the opportunity to add to his crimes. 

I hope no one gets hurt, again...

gingergirl wrote on December 03, 2013 at 1:12 am

First I want thank everyone for leaving Ms. Skepticity out there in her own ocean of a mini trial for Mr. Banao and of course to the news gazette for alllowing such freedom of speech. I have gathered a few things from this post; one thing being that this post was from a woman (because men don't tend to voice themselves as accurate)(no offense). Second, this woman is either directly or indirectly related to the victim. I say that because with all the crime in world going on these days; she was intensely focused on this one. She does have me stumped as to how she seems to know so much about the accused. Regardless, the time taken for her to post her opinion deserves the one I'm about to give her. I am directly related to the accused and by no means to I condone his actions but, here's my dilemma. YOU are an adult and I gather that you have proven this young man guilty already in your mind and that he has no chance of forgiveness or help. YOU are supposedly representitive of the "right" people in this world? One who would put all of your energy into the dirt from this young man's past (as if you have none of your own; oh thats right....you're Jesus). One who would hope our judicial system just lock him up and throw away the key? YOU are exactly the type of person that makes me wonder where our real crmminals are! Not always by exact actions as they relate to our great ability as humans to make REAL stupid choices but, by the intentional choices we make as it relates to whats in our hearts. I believe in justice and I pray that it's served; and I want it known for the record that I hold the same compassion in my heart for the victim as I do the accused. As for you Ms. Skepticity, I pray for you. Your post was uneccessary and just down right WRONG. Get it together girl.