Man sentenced to 15 years for Taco Bell robbery

Man sentenced to 15 years for Taco Bell robbery

URBANA — A Champaign man who admitted robbing a fast-food restaurant last summer in Champaign has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Brion L. Howard, 22, who last lived in the 2600 block of West Springfield Avenue, pleaded guilty Monday before Judge Heidi Ladd to a single count of aggravated robbery. He admitted that he indicated he had a gun when he held up an employee of the Taco Bell, 1910 W. Springfield Ave., on Aug. 23.

Assistant State's Attorney Scott Bennett said employees were opening that morning, following the usual routine of handing the previous night's deposit in a bank bag out of the drive-through window to the manager waiting in a vehicle. As the manager put the bag in her console, she saw a man she later identified as Howard standing between her vehicle and the building.

He indicated that he had a gun and demanded the bank bag. She gave him the bag, containing more than $2,100, and he ran to a nearby apartment with Champaign police close behind. Howard ultimately came out of an apartment as ordered by police.

Officers found the bank bag, Howard's sunglasses, and clothing in the building's laundry/utility room. The restaurant manager identified the bank bag and Howard's clothing as the same as the robber was wearing.

Howard was interviewed and admitted holding up the employee for the cash, Bennett said.

Bennett said Howard had prior convictions for driving while revoked, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence and a juvenile adjudication.

He was given credit on his sentence for 230 days already served.

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