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Serial robber in pajamas faces new charges, Decatur police report

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DECATUR — Police said they have filed a series of armed robbery charges against a pajama-wearing bandit in Decatur accused of launching a one-man crime spree within weeks of being paroled from prison.

Travis C. Childress, 48, is now being held in the Macon County Jail on bail set at $600,000. He has been booked on five preliminary counts of robbery along with charges of resisting police and violation of parole.

A sworn affidavit signed by Decatur Police Detective Benjamin Massey said Childress was finally caught on the night of May 30 after he had held up the Thornton’s gas station at 1707 E. Pershing Road.

Police said they had chased him down after a vehicle pursuit and had also arrested his alleged getaway driver, a 55-year-old girlfriend who uses his last name. She has been booked on a preliminary charge of armed robbery and is being held in lieu of bail set at $15,000.

Police reports on Childress accuse him of committing five armed robberies in a hectic spree between May 18 and May 30. The robberies include an earlier hold-up on May 30 at 12:13 a.m. when Childress, wearing a red jacket, neon green ski mask and “white flannel checkered pajama pants” robbed the Circle K gas station at 501 N. Main St.

Police said he also held-up the USA Inn, 3141 N. Water St., in the early hours of May 27 and was frequently armed with a BB gun replica of an Uzi submachine gun. The police affidavits do not detail all his alleged robberies, but do say he made threats to the robbery victims and would hurry them along with lines like “You have 30 seconds or I’m pulling the trigger.”

Massey said Childress was paroled from prison May 5 after being sentenced in 2017 to 11 years following a guilty plea on a charge of aggravated robbery. Massey said Childress has a string of previous convictions including 12 counts of aggravated robbery and robbery.

His girlfriend is quoted as telling police Childress has a crack cocaine addiction and she feared he would beat her if she didn’t help him carry out the latest crimes.

All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state attorney's office. 

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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