Robbery pleas bring 12-year prison sentence

URBANA — A Peoria man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for holdups at three Champaign County businesses that happened last year, two of them on the same day.

Ronald A. Miles, 27, pleaded guilty Thursday before Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis to three counts of aggravated robbery for robberies he committed March 8 at the Regions Bank, 111 S. State St., C, and the Champaign County Schools Credit Union, 1201 S. Mattis Ave, C, and June 4 at the Steak N Shake, 2009 N. Kenyon Road, U.

Police recovered DNA from a piece of evidence in one of the bank robberies that led to Miles, who said he needed cash to help his family.

Miles was sentenced to 12 years for each of the aggravated robberies, the sentences to be served at the same time. However, he'll serve the 12 years after he's finished serving a three-year sentence he received for theft with a prior theft, on June 4, just hours after he held up the Steak N Shake.

Champaign police detective Mark Strzesak said about 10:35 a.m. on March 8, Miles entered the Regions Bank and implied he had a weapon by showing a teller a gun tucked in his waistband. He was given cash, including a dye pack that later exploded in his backpack. Strzesak said he dumped the backpack, which still had some cash in it, about a block away on Clark Street.

Miles then headed west and about 20 minutes later, went in the Champaign County Schools Employee Credit Union, 1201 S. Mattis Ave., where he again implied he had a weapon and was given cash.

Strzesak estimated Miles made off with about $7,000 from the two financial institutions.

In the Steak N Shake robbery, Urbana police investigator Duane Maxey said a man entered at 12:07 a.m. on June 4, pointed a handgun at the manager and demanded cash. He made off with about $1,100, Maxey said.

Hours later that same day, Miles was in the courtroom of Judge Heidi Ladd being resentenced to prison for violating his probation in the 2011 theft case.

Maxey said the description of the Steak N Shake robber was close to the one in the bank robberies Strzesak was investigating. After the DNA match came back from the state crime lab, Strzesak went in October to the prison where Miles was being held on the theft conviction to talk to him about all the robberies.

"He confessed. He said he needed money for his family," the detective said.

A search of his Peoria home did not turn up a weapon and Miles told police he didn't have a real gun which is why he was charged with the lesser aggravated robbery counts.

No one was physically harmed in any of the holdups.

Besides the theft conviction from Champaign County from 2011, Miles also had an armed robbery conviction from Vermilion County in 2006.

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