A Peoria Heights man was robbed at gunpoint about 4 a.m. Friday when his car was stopped at a traffic light at Northeast Jefferson Avenue and Spring Street.
The robber displayed a handgun and ordered the 33-year-old driver to open his door. Police said the driver gave the robber $460 in cash and a cell phone valued at $250.
Police said the gunman fled after an accomplice yelled, “Let’s go, dog.”
A South Peoria bakery was robbed at gunpoint on Thursday afternoon, making it the third armed robbery at the store in the past six weeks.
A man with a handgun entered Butternut Bread Co., 605 S. Shelley St., just after 4 p.m. and demanded money from an employee. He took off on a bicycle with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.
The bakery also was robbed Dec. 29 and Jan. 31.
Fuck This Lying Nigger!!
Peoria police Lt. Marshall Dunnigan continued his legal spat with City Hall with yet another lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court this week, alleging racial discrimination.
The suit, filed Wednesday, states the punishment the 28-year veteran received for allegations he took winnings from another gambler at the Par-A-Dice Riverboat Casino in November 2006 – he was fired – was “different and more severe than the discipline” imposed upon other white police employees.
Recently, the city gave Dunnigan $37,240 in back pay and benefits after an arbitrator ruled last year the city failed to establish Dunnigan committed a crime. The amount Dunnigan received was likely more as the city agreed to also repay his pension for the money Dunnigan withdrew while out of work for 16 months.
The suit filed this week seems to mirror that earlier arbitration, with a key difference being that Dunnigan is now asking for attorneys’ fees as well as “damages sufficient to compensate him for the emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, inconvenience and loss in the enjoyment of life suffered by him.”
Dunnigan was fired in March 2007, and he has always maintained his termination was more about his displeasure with being passed over for promotion in 2005 and the subsequent filing of a human-rights complaint with state officials than about what happened at the casino.
In 2006, a Human Rights department investigator determined there was no “substantial evidence” to sustain the allegations.
The investigator summed up her report by saying, “The other candidates ranked superior to (Dunnigan). . . . There is no evidence of race, sex or age animus.”
When reached, City Attorney Randy Ray said he had not seen the lawsuit and couldn’t comment further.
In January 2008, Dunnigan filed a similar lawsuit in federal court. Both seek unspecified damages.
Police still are investigating the armed robbery of a local restaurant.
At about 8:40 p.m. Monday, two men armed with guns robbed the Spotted Cow at 718 W. Glen Ave. and escaped on foot with an undetermined amount of cash.
A description of the robbers was not available from police Monday night.
No one in the restaurant was injured. Police have not made any arrests.
For the second time in about as many weeks, masked gunmen robbed a Central Peoria gas station.
About 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, two males entered Circle K, 2416 N. University St., and demanded money from the clerk.
One of the males, armed with two guns, ordered a lone customer to lie face down on the floor while he yanked the victim’s wallet out of his pocket, reports stated. The other robber, also armed, turned his attention on the clerk, stealing an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register.
Witnesses reported seeing the men run south on University toward MacQueen Avenue after the robbery.
On Jan. 26, three men robbed the same gas station, pilfering cigarettes and taking money from the safe.
That crime, like Tuesday’s, remains unsolved and comes on the heels of more than two dozen similar robberies plaguing the city since the end of December.
The hold-up of yet another business in Peoria on Monday night has some working in retail wondering if the crime spree will soon come to an end.
The armed robbery to Big Lots, 3013 N. Sterling Ave., about 8:20 p.m. by a man with a knife is the latest in a wave of heists plaguing the city.
No injuries were reported, though the robber poked an employee in the back with the knife until the cash register was emptied.
From bakeries and bars to video and convenience stores, it seems no business is safe. In January, there were 22 armed robberies, two to four a day in some instances.
“I don’t know what is going on. It seems like every day there’s another one. It’s crazy,” said a manager at of one of the two Butternut Bread thrift stores in Peoria. “You work in retail and you always have a chance of getting robbed. Police need to do something.”
Police have beefed up patrols but with so many robberies and very few leads, it’s difficult to know if one or more people or groups are responsible.
“It could be the same two people every time,” Peoria police spokesman Doug Burgess said. “But until we can pin it down, we’re not going to know for sure.”
Police thought they had put a stop to the robberies with the arrests of two teens last week after a botched purse snatching outside the Circle K gas station on Knoxville Avenue. One of the alleged robbers, Christopher Young, 18, of Peoria was arrested a second time over the weekend for the Jan. 10 armed robbery of two patrons of the Elbo Room, 631 W. Main St.
But even with those arrests, the robberies continue to occur.
“They’re hitting whoever,” said the Butternut manager, not wanting to give her name. “It’s a nervous situation.”
Because their stores have been held up three times since Dec. 29, bakery management has allowed the thrift stores to close an hour earlier, at 5 p.m. The businesses also are installing an upgraded security system.
“Hopefully that will help,” said the manager. “We don’t know what else to do to stay safe.”
Peoria is not alone in struggling to solve the cases.
Three of the robberies have occurred just outside city limits in Peoria County. In less than a week, Family Video, 3218 W. Harman Highway, was robbed twice, along with the U.S. Cellular store across the street.
“We are in communication with Peoria, comparing notes and working together to resolve this string of robberies,” said Peoria County Sheriff’s Capt. Dave Briggs. “We know from descriptions it’s not always the same people.”
Police have described the robbers as black men in their mid-teens to mid-20s. They range in height from 5 feet, 4 inches tall to 6 feet, 1 inch tall with medium builds. They wear dark clothing, gloves and sometimes black ski masks.
Some of the robberies may be linked because of the mannerisms of the suspects, but police have declined to elaborate on the suspects’ behavior because of the ongoing investigation.
Anyone with information about the robbers or armed robberies can call CrimeStoppers anonymously at 673-9000 or the Peoria Police Department at 673-4521.
Two men were carjacked Friday night outside a South Peoria liquor store.
Just after 10 p.m., two male suspects with guns reportedly approached a car in the parking lot of South Metro Market, 2421 W. Starr St.
The carjackers told the victims, both in their mid-20s, to get out of the car, according to police. One victim was hit with the butt of a gun, which caused minor injury.
Both victims told police they heard gunshots as they ran from the scene.
A man was shot twice shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday in the 2200 block of West Millman Street.
The victim, whose name has not been released, was transported to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds to the head and abdomen, police said.
No arrests have been made. Anyone with information regarding the shooting should call the Peoria Police Department at (30… or Crime Stoppers at 673-9000.