8/1/2019 9:43:00 AM Suspects in custody after $26K heist
An Illinois State trooper and two Crawford County Sheriff’s Office deputies deliberate during the search for Latrell S. Coe, 18, Indianapolis, following his escape from an armed robbery chase on Illinois Route 1. Local and state law enforcement patrolled this area on 100N to Route 1, where three others were arrested on armed robbery charges. (Blake Nash photo)
Hours of searching for a man wanted for robbing a Mt. Carmel Verizon Store along with three others came to an end about 8:10 Tuesday night.
The search for the suspect, identified as Latrell S. Coe, 18, Indianapolis, began after authorities stopped a vehicle sought in connection with an 11:30 a.m. armed robbery the store at Ninth and Cherry, Mt. Carmel.
While the incident remains under investigation, initial reports say Mt. Carmel police were notified that two black men, possibly armed, robbed the store of $26,000 worth of cash and cell phones.
The suspects were spotted leaving the scene in a black Ford Fusion with Indiana registration just after the robbery occurred. The vehicle turned north onto Illinois Route 1 and proceeded toward Lawrence County.
Law enforcement in Lawrence County were informed that the group was approaching the area and later located them on Route 1.
Lawrence County authorities continued the chase and the vehicle refused to stop and drove into Crawford County.
The chase ended not long after the vehicle entered Crawford County. Authorities in Mt. Carmel said that the vehicle ran into a police car near Sugar Creek, just north of the county line and came to a stop. That information, however, has not been confirmed by Lawrence or Crawford authorities.
Coe fled the scene after the crash and headed into a wooded area on the west side of Route 1. Three other men were taken into custody at the scene and later taken to the Wabash County Jail. Their identities have not been released. Mt. Carmel police also said a gun was found at the time of their arrests.
The Crawford County Sheriff's Office, Robinson Police Department, Palestine Police Department, Hutsonville Police Department and state authorities set a perimeter near the area from Route 1 along 100N near about 1100E, southeast of New Hebron.
K9 units and a Robinson police drone were brought to the scene and scoured the area.
"We had two different K9s, one from Wabash County and one from Robinson that were searching the area," Crawford County Sheriff William Rutan said. "Robinson Police Department brought their drone out and searched the targeted area less than an hour after the stop took place."
In the meantime, local residents were informed to be on the lookout for a black male in his mid 20s, wearing a white tank top and shorts.
It was about 8 p.m. when a tip came in from a local resident on Lawrence Avenue near the county line. According to the tip, Coe was seen near an unoccupied residence at 13750 E. Lawrence Ave. on the Crawford side.
"I can't verify 100 percent as far as where the suspect was at the time when the tip was called in," Rutan said. "But it was definitely in the area of their residence."
Rutan added that the resident said that they had seen a suspect matching their description, but wearing different clothing. Apparently, Coe broke into the unoccupied home and changed clothes while hiding.
Officers obtained a warrant and surrounded the house. Coe, now wearing a blue-striped shirt, surrendered. Rutan said he could not confirm whether Coe had a gun or other items in his possession at the time of the arrest.
Coe was arrested on charges of criminal damage to property, burglary, theft under $500 and criminal trespass to real property. He is being held in the Crawford County Jail waiting for bond to be set by a judge.
Departments involved in the investigation and arrest include: Mt. Carmel police, Wabash County Sheriff's Office, Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, Lawrenceville Police Department, Crawford County Sheriff's Office, Illinois State Police, Palestine Police Department, Robinson Police Department, Hutsonville Police Department, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Conservation and the Crawford County Sheriff's Office Auxiliary Police. Crawford County EMA and ILEAS were on standby for assistance.
Following the release of Coe's photo, further information revealed that the group may have been involved in the same type of an armed robbery reported at a cell phone store in Oxford, Ohio, Friday. Oxford is about two hours from Indianapolis, just inside the Ohio state line.