Third person charged in knifepoint robbery

Third person charged in knifepoint robbery

URBANA — A third teen accused of participating in the knifepoint holdup of a younger teen last month has been criminally charged.

Leon Dantzler, 18, who listed an address in the 2300 block of Rainbow View Drive, Urbana, was charged Tuesday in Champaign County Circuit Court with armed robbery for allegedly participating in robbing a 14-year-old boy of his phone and backpack on Dec. 26 in the 200 block of East Park Street in Champaign.

Michael Roberts, 19, of Champaign, and Andrew Allen, 18, of Urbana have also been arrested and charged with armed robbery. They are due back in court in February. Champaign police are looking for a fourth suspect.

According to a Champaign police report, the 14-year-old was riding a Mass Transit District bus on Dec. 26 when he struck up a conversation with Allen about selling one of the two cellphones he had. Allen purported to make a call and told the teen he had a potential buyer for it. When they got to the Illinois Terminal, Allen reportedly told the teen the buyer was at the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club on Park Street.

Allen and the teen started walking there, with the three others behind.

Once they got to the club, the younger teen tried the door and it was locked because the club was closed for the holiday. He turned around and all four of the older teens had produced knives. One held a switchblade to his neck and demanded his property while the other three goaded on the one with the knife to the victim's throat.

After getting the victim's property, the younger teen was able to get away and call police.

Dantzler was arrested Saturday for allegedly shoplifting Doritos and Snickers at the Super Pantry, 1511 N. Prospect Ave., C. He was charged with retail theft with a prior burglary for that.

Judge John Kennedy set Dantzler's bond at $200,000 on the armed robbery case and continued the $2,000 bond set in bond court over the weekend for the theft.

He told Dantzler to return to court Feb. 11.

Assistant State's Attorney Tim Sullivan told the judge that Dantzler had adult convictions for burglary and resisting a peace officer and a juvenile adjudication for theft.

If convicted of armed robbery, he faces six to 30 years in prison.

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Skepticity wrote on January 22, 2014 at 11:01 am

I noticed that the print headline for this story said "3rd teenager" and the web version said "3rd person."  The first sentence calls the criminal a "teen."  Why not say "criminal" or "offender" due to his prior convictions.  He is presumed innocent until proven guilty of the alleged offense, but he has been convicted previously.  I think using "person" is fine, too. 

I realize that any person of an age 13 through 19 can be legitimately called a "teen" or "teenager."  However, I believe that using that label for the alleged perpetrators of serious criminal offenses tends to minimize the threat presented to the community by the person.  It infers that it is just a troubled kid, and we shouldn't be overly concerned.  Just a "teen."

This issue is one that has troubled me for a while.  When 19 year old soldier dies in the line of duty, we don't call them a "teenager."  Why should the alleged perpetrators of criminal offenses, often very serious and dangerous criminal offenses, be granted the inference of youthful error by being called a "teenager" in reports of the charges? 

I suggest that headlines and text of articles refer to an arrestee of teenage years as "person" or use the age itself and say "19 year old charged in armed holdup."   That would be accurate reporting without additional connotations.  "Teen" just implies too much regarding the alleged offender and diminishes the impact of the crime on the victim(s) and minimizes the threat to the community.