St. Joseph man pleads guilty in bank robbery

URBANA — A St. Joseph man who admitted robbing a bank because he needed to pay his drug dealer faces a potential prison sentence next month.

Kaleb Shields, 27, pleaded guilty Tuesday before Champaign County Judge Harry Clem to aggravated robbery.

He admitted that on July 31, about 11:40 a.m., he robbed a teller at the Central Illinois Bank, 302 W. Springfield Ave., C.

With a fake beard taped to his face, Shields handed the woman a note demanding money. He acted as if he had a gun although no employees ever saw one, police said.

The teller put cash in a gym bag that Shields handed her and then left in a car. Within minutes, police found the car running in the driveway in a home in the 200 block of East Hill Street and found Shields in the backyard.

Assistant State's Attorney Claire Sharples-Brooks said Shields told police he needed the money to pay his cannabis dealer. The $446 that was taken was recovered.

Clem set sentencing for March 14. Sharples-Brooks agreed to cap her sentencing recommendation at eight years in prison, while Shields' attorney, Mark Lipton, said he would ask that his client get a community-based sentence that includes drug treatment.

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