Crime

Brother, sister and man dressed as woman arrested after Kohl’s robbery

AP

A Belleville man was arrested Friday on multiple charges — including robbery, aggravated assault, and making a false 911 report — after he allegedly stole merchandise from Kohl’s at Fairview Heights.

Brother and sister Jerome Abbott III and Jerrica Abbott, both of St. Louis, were charged with class A misdemeanors of theft stemming from an incident at Kohl’s in Fairview Heights on Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors charged another suspect, Jimmy Bootchee, of Belleville, with robbery, theft, aggravated assault, making a false report to 911 and drug possession. Bootchee also has four outstanding warrants.

Some of Bootchee’s charges stem from his alleged threats to use pepper spray against store security personnel. “He had Mace on his belt, and pointed it at the (Kohl’s) officers,” said Fairview Heights Police spokesman Tim Mueller.

The store’s personnel backed up and called Fairview Heights Police and gave a description of the suspects’ vehicle, which was still on the property.

Fairview Heights officers arrived and saw one suspect, later identified as Bootchee, make a cell-phone call just prior to being approached.

At the same time, a call was made to 911 reporting that a gas convenience station was being robbed at gunpoint by two men, and that shots may have been fired at the gas station.

O’Fallon Police officers, to whom the call had been made, and Fairview Heights officers responded to the gas station; the call was a determined to be a hoax.

Police determined that the 911 call was made from one of the suspects at Kohl’s; police say it was an effort to evade arrest, and the phone that made the call was recovered in the vehicle. Bootchee is charged with making the false report.

Fairview Heights Police arrested the three. Police found drugs, drug paraphenalia, a stun gun and a can of pepper spray in the vehicle.

Prosecutors charged Jerrica Abbott with taking less than $300 worth of merchandise; Jerome Abbott and Bootchee “worked together, and theirs was less than $200,” said Mueller. Jerome Abbott was charged with theft.

The Abbotts posted $150 apiece for their release on bond. Jerrica Abbott also had her young daughter with her. Mueller said police kept the child with her mother because no other family members were nearby to get the girl.

Bootchee remained in custody Saturday at Fairview Heights on $75,000 bail. Bootchee was wearing women’s clothing at the time of his arrest.

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