Accused robbers face more charges

Accused robbers face more charges

Latest: 6:02 pm, 8/14/14, Thursday COLES COUNTY -- Police are filing more charges against two men.
Latest: 6:02 pm, 8/14/14, Thursday
COLES COUNTY -- Police are filing more charges against two men. Zachary Sapp and Nicholas Jackson are from Toledo. They were arrested Wednesday, accused of robbing the Casey's in Mattoon.

Thursday, new charges of breaking into a home were added. Police say the suspects broke in and robbed a family. A gun was fired, but no one was hurt.
Latest: 6:01 pm, 8/13/14, Wednesday
MATTOON -- Two businesses were robbed this week. Police made arrests in just one. Authorities were called to Lee's Famous Chicken, about 9 pm, Sunday. About 5 am, Monday, another robbery was reported at the Casey's General Store. Police arrested 21-year old Zachary Sapp and 24-year old Nicholas Jackson. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine has more.

The owners at Lee's believe the robberies are related, but right now, police don't have the evidence to support that theory. Instead of sitting on their hands, the owners of Lee's are taking action and improving safety at their business.

"We only have enough to charge them with the robbery at Casey's General Store. The Lee's is still open for investigation."

Not exactly what Barb Lawson wanted to hear. She's the owner of Lee's Famous Chicken. They were robbed hours before the Casey's.

"I'm disappointed, of course, that they can't give us a definite answer, but there's too many similar factors. I imagine that we would find out it's related and I know that they'll do a good job and they'll find them."

Police found the suspects they say robbed Casey's thanks to pictures on Facebook. It came from surveillance video.

"By the time we put that information out, within 30 minutes, we had both of them identified. When you put it on Facebook, you instantly, right then and there, most people have it on their phones. They respond to it right away."

Police say this isn't the first time they've had multiple armed robberies in the same day or in this short of a time span.

"I do not recall ever having one that wasn't the same suspect."

Lawson is disappointed, but she's taking steps to protect her employees.

"We're concerned that some of them will be afraid to be here at closing time, of course. We're trying to relieve their fears there. We're implementing some new safety practices."

Lawson already ordered a new camera system to replace the old one.

"There were pictures at Casey's and we didn't have the pictures and it's hard to identify someone that has a mask on and gloves."

Effingham police believe one of the suspects also robbed an EconoLodge on Monday. It's possible the Effingham State's Attorney will file charges.
Latest: 5:03 am, 8/13/14, Wednesday
MATTOON -- Police arrested two men after two armed robberies. Police say, minutes after they released surveillance pictures, the community identified the suspects. Sunday night, a restaurant was hit and Monday morning, the Casey's was robbed. Police won't say which robbery the arrests are connected to. The suspects' names have not yet been released.
Update: 5:49 pm, 8/11/14, Monday
MATTOON -- Police are looking for an armed robbery suspect who may have hit two businesses within an 8-hour stretch. Police say a man robbed Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken around 9 pm Sunday night. Then someone robbed the Casey's around 5 am Monday morning. Even though investigators say they're not sure if the two are related, the crimes happened at two businesses that are about a block apart.

The suspect descriptions for the robberies are very similar as well. Both include a man who is about 5'8" and was wearing a black ski mask and blue jeans. No one was hurt, but the suspect left each business with cash. People say what happened this weekend was not normal.

"One if them said, she thought it was a prank and realized it wasn't," said Larry Lawson, who owns Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken.

Lawson says his store had just closed Sunday night. While his cooks were taking out the trash, someone got in.

"My manager was checking out the register and had some money laying on the counter," said Lawson. "He said, 'Give me the money,' and he took the money and he left."

Even though this has never happened in the 41 years he's owned the place, Lawson says he trained his workers to know what to do.

"Anything you need to do to get the person out," said Lawson. "Don't resist, just give them the money, get them out of here and if they want chicken, give them some chicken and get them out of here."

Then early Monday morning, police say a masked man with a gun demanded money from the Casey's a block away.

"Didn't know what to think," said Lawson. "Thought somebody was pretty busy."

Lawson says he saw investigators at the gas station after they left his restaurant. He hopes they catch who ever was behind the crimes.

Lawson says he had five people working Sunday night, all between 17 and 22 years old. He says he's proud they handled the situation as well as they did.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.

Coles County Crime Stoppers
1 (866) 345 - 8488
Text: "crimeleads" + info to CRIMES (274637)
Original: 1:48 pm, 8/11/14,  Monday
MATTOON -- Police hope people can provide information about two armed robberies.

The first happened Sunday, about 9:00 pm, at Lee's Famous Recipe, in the 800-block of Charleston. A suspect entered the restaurant with a weapon, demanded money and fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The suspect is described as a white man, 5'7" - 5'8", slim-to-medium build. He was wearing a pink hoodie, faded blue jeans, black tennis shoes and a black ski mask.

The second happened Monday, about 5:00 am, at Casey's General Store, in the 900-block of Charleston. That suspect entered the store with a firearm and demanded money. He also fled on foot.

The suspect is described as a white man, 5'7" - 5'9", medium build. He was wearing a black t-shirt, black ski mask, blue jeans and white tennis shoes. No word if police think the robberies are related. No one was hurt in either incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.

Coles County Crime Stoppers
1 (866) 345 - 8488
Text: "crimeleads" + info to CRIMES (274637)
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