Two men were charged Friday with the Jan. 2 Tinley Park armed robbery that ended in New Lenox after they crashed their getaway car on Route 6 just east of Cedar Road. A third man was released pending investigation.
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office charged Larone Smith and Lazeric Watkins, both are 24 and from Chicago. The pair appeared Friday at Bridgeview Courthouse. Smith's bond was set at $500,000, while Watkins' bond is set at $250,000.
Tinley Park Police Chief Steve Neubauer said the two were armed just after 7 p.m. Wednesday when they robbed cell phones from the T-Moblie store, Harlem Avenue and 162nd Street. No shots were fired, but one store employee received minor injuries.
With a description of the getaway car provided by T-Mobile employees, Tinley Park police spotted the getaway car, a white Buick, and chased it on Interstate 57 and west on Interstate 80 as far as LaGrange Road, according to the Sun-Times Media.
Neubauer said because the chase was "getting too dangerous for the public at large," it was abandoned by Tinley Park police.
Read more about the accident: Armed Robbery Suspects Arrested After New Lenox Car Crash: (UPDATE)
Shortly after 8 p.m., the manhunt spilled over into New Lenox. New Lenox Deputy Police Chief Bob Pawlisz said officers responded to a call about a car accident on Route 6 just east of Cedar Road. They found the car abandoned in a ditch; it matched the description of the getaway car.
New Lenox police, together with a K-9 unit from the Illinois State Police, searched the area, locating the alleged armed robbers before 9:15 p.m. They hadn't gotten far, only four houses away from the crash site, said Pawlisz. The dogs picked up the scent at the getaway car and led police right to the two who were fleeing on foot.
Multiple steps and coordination between six police departments out of the southwest suburban area—Tinley Park, New Lenox, Mokena, Manhattan, Will County Sheriff's police and Illinois State Police District 5—were involved in the manhunt, said Pawlisz.
Because the men were armed, New Lenox police took an additional security measure. They initiated a Reverse 911 danger alert to phone lines in the immediate vicinity. However, because the suspects were arrested so quickly, the alert either didn't go out at all, or it reached only a small handful of people before it was cancelled, said Pawlisz.
Tinley Park police arrived in New Lenox and took the men into custody.
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