SULLIVAN -- Three teenagers were arrested in Decatur Sunday night after a police patrol intercepted a suspect vehicle linked to the armed robbery earlier in the day of a Sullivan cell phone store.
Detective Sgt. Chris Copeland said the vehicle was spotted in the Fairview Plaza shopping area and it took off with officers in pursuit. It was stopped after devices were deployed that punctured its tires and one teenage boy passenger and a teenage girl passenger were taken into custody at the scene.
Speaking Monday afternoon, Copeland said reports were still being processed and he didn’t have all details to hand. But he did know the male teenage driver tried to escape on foot after the vehicle was disabled and was later tracked down using police dogs.
“Two officers were injured, neither one seriously,” added Copeland. “One from climbing a barbed wire fence and the other one from falling during the foot chase.”
He said the suspect vehicle, a Chevrolet HHR model, turns out to have been stolen either late Saturday or early Sunday from Charley’s Auto Sales in Decatur. Sullivan Police had alerted all Central Illinois law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the vehicle after the robbery of the Verizon Wireless Store in Sullivan around 3:56 p.m. Sunday.
Teenage boys aged 15 and 16, one of them armed with a rifle, were spotted by passers-by fleeing in this vehicle after holding up the store and grabbing armfuls of new phones and cash out of the till.
“A couple of alert citizens saw them as they running down an alley carrying all this stuff,” said Sullivan Police Chief, Jim Waggoner. “They watched them get in that vehicle and they relayed all the information to us. We were able to put that out to all area police departments and your Decatur PD found them later in the evening.”
Investigations were continuing Monday evening and while at least one juvenile remained in custody, it was not clear if the others were still detained or released to their parents.
Waggoner said armed robberies were rare in his town and believes Sullivan suffered its last one five or six years ago.