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Heroic Workers Thwart Robbery Attempt

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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A construction crew is being hailed for their heroic actions after capturing a robbery suspect who allegedly threatened a store clerk with a gun before taking the contents of her cash register.

The suspect, 58-year-old Charles E. James, Jr., entered the Town and Country Liquor and Food Mart in Belleville, IL, around 1:30 p.m. Thursday (July 25), grabbed the store clerk, and demanded that she open the cash register, according to the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department.

The clerk complied, handing over an undisclosed amount of money.

James then fled the store, and the clerk began to shout for help. Upon hearing her pleas, construction workers doing road work nearby detained James until deputies arrived.

Belleville robbery suspect
St. Clair County Sheriff's Dept. / Facebook

Charles E. James, Jr., 58, allegedly threatened a store clerk with a gun and took the contents of her cash register. A nearby construction crew captured James and held him on the ground until police arrived.

The construction company was not identified.

Gun Threat

When James entered the liquor store, he waited until he was alone with the clerk, Joyce Mueller, and asked to see something from inside a case. 

"I went over to the case. I squatted down, slid the door open, reached in, and when I reached in, I felt an arm around my neck, and he got real close to my ear and he said, 'I got a gun and I'm going to blow your head off if you don't go over there and open the cash drawer'," Mueller told local NBC affiliate KSDK.

Sheriff Richard Watson praised and thanked the construction workers for their quick action and assisting the deputies in "taking a violent criminal off the streets."

Town and Country Liquor and Food Mart

The sheriff's department praised the construction workers for their actions. The suspect has been charged with aggravated robbery, a Class 1 felony.

"Co-operation between the public and law enforcement is vital in making a difference," Watson said in a press release on the department's Facebook page.

James was charged with aggravated robbery, a Class 1 felony, and is being held in the St. Clair County Jail on $250,000 bond.

In the state of Illinois, a Class 1 felony carries a prison term of four to 15 years and/or a $25,000 fine, according to the Illinois General Assembly.


Tagged categories: Construction; Criminal acts; Roads/Highways

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