Crime

Fairview Heights police say ‘BB gun bandits’ robbed men of their cash, phone and shoes

Violent and property crime stats for Illinois

According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.
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According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.

Three men walking in a shopping center were robbed at gunpoint of cash, a cellphone and their shoes Tuesday night by people riding in a car that included a toddler, Fairview Heights police said.

But police said the suspects didn’t get too far.

They were spotted by an officer a short time after the robbery and arrested. And what appeared to be two handguns seized by police are actually BB guns.

In a news release titled “BB gun bandits captured,” the police department said Wednesday that no one was injured in the armed robbery and subsequent arrest.

The toddler was taken into protective custody.

Three men and two women were in the suspects’ car. The men are being held in custody pending charges while the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office reviews the case and the two women were released.

Their names were not released because charges have not yet been filed.

Police gave this account of what happened:

Three men were walking in the area of Market Place near Illinois 159 when a white car with tinted windows approached them at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“The occupants of the vehicle asked the males a question and then pointed a gun at them. The suspects took a small amount of cash, cellphone and shoes from the victims. The suspects then drove from the scene toward Ruby Lane,” the news release stated.

One of the victims had been ordered to take off his athletic shoes and hand them over to the suspects, police said.

A short time later, an officer on Ludwig Drive spotted what appeared to be the suspects’ car and the suspects walking near it.

The suspects then got into the car and drove east on Ludwig Drive. Officers stopped the car on Fountains Parkway at Illinois 159 and the suspects were arrested.

Police recovered the victims’ stolen property.

“The victims later positively identified the suspects and vehicle,” the news release said.

Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and grew up in St. Louis.
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