DECATUR – Two Decatur women are facing Class X armed robbery charges for allegedly holding up an eastside convenience store by brandishing a knife that resembled a firearm.

About 5 a.m. Jan. 15, a woman entered the Circle K, 1685 S. Baltimore, and displayed a weapon, which the 52-year-old female store employee believed was a small handgun.

“The handgun was later determined to be a knife with an approximately 3-inch blade, fashioned to resemble a small handgun,” said an affidavit by a Decatur patrol officer.

The employee “feared for her life and believed the handgun to be real.”

As store surveillance cameras recorded the incident, Leica A. Edwards, 48, “proceeded behind the counter, where she stole three cartons of Newport 100 cigarettes.”

When Edwards left the store, the employee followed her outside. She “observed Leica get into a gold-colored car parked in the 3800 block of East Fulton Avenue with its hazard lights on.” The vehicle was parked about a half block from the store, where it could not be seen from inside the store.

The employee called 911, informing the dispatcher that the car headed west on Fulton.

Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 1400 block of South Lost Bridge Road, about 1½ miles from the Circle K.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Kimberly S. Harris, 50. Edwards was a passenger in the car.

In a police interview, Edwards “voluntarily admitted that she and Kimberly had planned to rob the Circle K,” the affidavit said. “Leica stated they had been using crack cocaine to 'get high' all night but had run out. Leica advised they planned to use the items they obtained from the robbery to trade for crack cocaine.”

Edwards and Harris were booked into the Macon County Jail, where they are being held on bonds of $50,000 and $20,000, respectively. They were each arraigned Jan. 13 on one count of armed robbery, punishable by six to 30 years in prison. Edwards is due in court for her preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Harris' hearing is scheduled for Feb. 22. Both defendants are represented by public defenders.

Since 1992 Edwards has 27 criminal convictions, including 12 felonies, for charges including robbery, theft, and forgery, mostly in Cook and Macon counties. She has served six terms in the Illinois Department of Corrections and numerous jail sentences.

Harris served a two-year federal prison sentence for cocaine distribution the 1990s. She is serving a one-year court supervision term for a 2016 misdemeanor conviction of possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Staff Writer

Staff Writer for the Herald & Review.