Search continues for 2 in Rantoul armed robbery

RANTOUL — Police continue to search for two men suspected of the armed robbery of a Rantoul business Thursday.

Rantoul police Sgt. Justin Bouse said Monday that police had not located two of the three men suspected in the armed robbery of Fashion Nails, 1270 E. Grove Ave., in the Maple Grove shopping center.

A third suspect, a 17-year-old Chicago resident, was arrested after the car he was traveling in crashed after exiting Interstate 57 on the south side of Chicago while being pursued by Illinois State Police. The other two men fled the scene and carjacked another vehicle.

The 17-year-old was transported to the Champaign County Youth Detention Center on a charge of armed robbery.

The three allegedly stole five cell phones and currency from the nail salon.

Bouse said Rantoul police have been working with Chicago area police departments on similar incidents that have occurred in the Chicago area, one of which was in Tinley Park.

Rantoul police were alerted to the Rantoul robbery at 12:47 a.m. by someone at a neighboring business who spotted the trio entering the building. At least one of them was wearing a mask and holding a handgun.

When police arrived, one of the men fled out the front door, and the other two out the back door. They ran east toward Christian Life Church, which is across Maplewood Drive from the shopping center.

One of the suspects drove away from the scene and picked up the other two suspects after police lost sight of them during a foot pursuit.

“At one point, one person got into a car and fled in a white Buick,” Police Chief Tony Brown said.

Bouse said the 17-year-old declined to talk to police after his arrest.

Police obtained a license plate number of the vehicle, which was passed along to area agencies. Officers were alerted that the vehicle was seen getting onto Interstate 57, headed north toward Chicago.

After being alerted to the armed robbery, police informed officials at Eastlawn Elementary School, located a few blocks north of the shopping center.

Brown said after a citizen’s report of a possible suspect seen on Chanute Street, officials at J.W. Eater Junior High School, located west of the center, were also alerted.

Rantoul City Schools Superintendent Michelle Ramage said about 1 p.m., students and staff implemented a Shelter in Place protocol. The protocol means everyone was to stay indoors for safety reasons.

“The Rantoul Police Department informed us that there was a robbery at a location nearby and the suspects ran,” Ramage said.

People were told not to come to the school or call to keep the lines of communication open. At 2:10 p.m., police notified Ramage that students could dismiss in the regular manner, and parents were notified.  

Rantoul Township High School Principal Todd Wilson said outside doors at the high school were locked and that parents were alerted via email and phone.



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