Man arrested within minutes of Urbana robbery

Man arrested within minutes of Urbana robbery

URBANA — A Champaign man was arrested for a gas station armed robbery Wednesday night 16 minutes after it was reported to police.

Urbana police Lt. Bryant Seraphin hailed the efforts of University of Illinois police Sgt. Joe McCullough in stopping the man believed responsible and Urbana police Sgt. Jason Norton in finding evidence linking him to the crime.

Police were called to the Circle K, 809 W. Green St., U, at 8:11 p.m. The 20-year-old male clerk from Urbana said the robber threatened him and took cash.

"The clerk reported that he was organizing merchandise on the floor when a man came in and motioned for him to go to the register, as if he were going to make a purchase. As the clerk neared the register, he felt a sharp object pressed against his lower back," Seraphin said. "The robber gave him specific commands to open the register, don't set off any alarms and hurry up."

After the clerk emptied the register, the robber took off running east on Green Street.

There were several UI police patrolling in that area and minutes later, Seraphin said, McCullough spotted a man matching the robber's description in the 400 block of West Springfield Avenue in Urbana.

"(Police) approach and he turns and starts to take off but doesn't get very far before he surrenders," Seraphin said.

The man was identified as John Lee Moore, 48, of the 1500 block of West Springfield Avenue, Champaign.

Seraphin said he was sweating and was wearing some of the same clothing the clerk said the robber wore. He did not have on a coat as the robber did. In a nearby bush police found a "pile of cash" consistent with what had been taken from the gas station, Seraphin said.

Norton then searched a path between the gas station and where Moore was located.

"Along a dirt path and down in between Busey and Green, he located a coat and a hooded sweatshirt as was described by the victim and seen on the video. Inside one of the pockets of the hooded sweatshirt was a blue and silver box cutter knife," Seraphin said.

Moore was taken to the county jail and was expected to be formally charged Thursday afternoon.

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