Man who took wallet, phone in break-in at Rantoul apartment gets 3 years

Man who took wallet, phone in break-in at Rantoul apartment gets 3 years

URBANA — A man who admitted he robbed a man in his Rantoul home in July was sentenced Friday to three years in prison.

Michael Nichols, 37, of the 1200 block of Ellis Drive, Urbana, pleaded guilty before Judge Roger Webber to robbery, admitting that he took a man's wallet and cellphone from him on July 17.

Nichols and two women had been charged with the more serious offenses of home invasion, residential burglary and aggravated robbery in connection with the incident.

On that day, the trio is alleged to have forced their way into the St. Andrews Circle apartment of a 68-year-old man and hit him with fists and a gun. While there, they took his wallet and cellphone.

The victim told the police he believed they were upset with him because they thought he was having children over to his apartment.

Rantoul police said they had received no reports of inappropriate conduct on the man's part with children.

Last week, co-defendant Shakeyla McCoy, 21, of the 1000 block of Smith Road, Urbana, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery of a senior citizen and received two years of probation. The victim's wallet and phone were found in the apartment that McCoy and Nichols had been in.

The state dismissed the charges against the third defendant, Angelia Gant, 41, of the 1200 block of Joanne Lane, Champaign, after she pleaded guilty in a separate misdemeanor case.

Gant admitted to Webber on Friday that she committed criminal damage to property on June 27 when she broke a window at Nichols' home on Ellis Drive. She was sentenced to two years of conditional discharge for that. Her criminal record, according to Assistant State's Attorney Toby Ortega, included two previous convictions for driving under revocation.

Nichols had prior convictions for resisting a peace officer, criminal trespass, driving under the influence, driving under revocation, domestic battery, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property.

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