19-year-old pleads guilty in Christmas Eve burglary
URBANA — A Champaign teen who planned to help himself to thousands of dollars worth of electronics from a Champaign store on Christmas Eve has been sentenced to 30 months of probation.
Romie Franklin, 19, who listed an address in the 0-100 block of Aztec Place, pleaded guilty Thursday before Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd to burglary for breaking into the Meijer store, 2401 N. Prospect Ave., late on Dec. 24.
Assistant State's Attorney Scott Bennett said Champaign police responded to an alarm at the store just before midnight, went in and found two young men running.
Franklin was seen pushing a cart that contained several duffel bags and electronic items. He was caught within minutes but it took police a little over an hour, with the help of a tracking dog, to find a 14-year-old boy who was hiding in the garden center.
Bennett said Franklin admitted to police that he used a hammer and wire cutters to get into locked glass cases in the electronics department. The plan was to load electronics in the bags and haul them out.
Police said there were at least 50 items ranging from Xbox and PlayStation games to smartphones to cameras and alcohol.
Bennett said police recovered about $8,000 worth of merchandise. Police found that the youths entered by popping out a window in an overhead door.
Franklin was ordered to pay restitution to Meijer of $1,747. He was also sentenced to five days in jail but given credit for time served.
Bennett said Franklin had a prior adjudication as a juvenile for arson and criminal trespass to residence.
The juvenile co-defendant's case has not been resolved.