Police Charge 2 Men Nabbed in New Lenox After Tinley Park Armed Robbery

Two men have been charged in connection with the manhunt that started Jan. 2 in Tinley Park and ended in a car crash in New Lenox.

Two men were charged Friday with the Jan. 2 Tinley Park armed robbery that ended in New Lenox after they crashed their getaway car on Route 6 just east of Cedar Road. A third man was released pending investigation.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office charged Larone Smith and Lazeric Watkins, both are 24 and from Chicago. The pair appeared Friday at Bridgeview Courthouse. Smith's bond was set at $500,000, while Watkins' bond  is set at $250,000.  

Tinley Park Police Chief Steve Neubauer said the two were armed just after 7 p.m. Wednesday when they robbed cell phones from the T-Moblie store, Harlem Avenue and 162nd Street. No shots were fired, but one store employee received minor injuries.

With a description of the getaway car provided by T-Mobile employees, Tinley Park police spotted the getaway car, a white Buick, and chased it on Interstate 57 and west on Interstate 80 as far as LaGrange Road, according to the Sun-Times Media.  

Neubauer said because the chase was "getting too dangerous for the public at large," it was abandoned by Tinley Park police.

Read more about the accident: Armed Robbery Suspects Arrested After New Lenox Car Crash: (UPDATE)

Shortly after 8 p.m., the manhunt spilled over into New Lenox. New Lenox Deputy Police Chief Bob Pawlisz said officers responded to a call about a car accident on Route 6 just east of Cedar Road. They found the car abandoned in a ditch; it matched the description of the getaway car.  

New Lenox police, together with a K-9 unit from the Illinois State Police, searched the area, locating the alleged armed robbers before 9:15 p.m. They hadn't gotten far, only four houses away from the crash site, said Pawlisz. The dogs picked up the scent at the getaway car and led police right to the two who were fleeing on foot.   

Multiple steps and coordination between six police departments out of the southwest suburban area—Tinley Park, New Lenox, Mokena, Manhattan, Will County Sheriff's police and Illinois State Police District 5—were involved in the manhunt, said Pawlisz.

Because the men were armed, New Lenox police took an additional security measure. They initiated a Reverse 911 danger alert to phone lines in the immediate vicinity.  However, because the suspects were arrested so quickly, the alert either didn't go out at all, or it reached only a small handful of people before it was cancelled, said Pawlisz.

Tinley Park police arrived in New Lenox and took the men into custody.

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Katie Kranz January 06, 2013 at 06:45 AM
If im not mistaken the previous articles said there was 3 men arrested. Why were only 2 charged?
alski January 06, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Joe...they did catch them what the heck are you talking about? They crashed the car. Took off on foot. The dogs picked up their scent and they were apprehended.As far as I'm concerned Julie's statement was correct.
Ann Piasecki January 06, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Hi Katie; A third man was released pending investigation.
Katie Kranz January 07, 2013 at 03:16 AM
@ alski no tinley police did not catch them New Lenox and State police k-9 did. They were booked in Tinley cause that is where the crime happen. Tinley police can't catch a cold come on now....
Julie Shaunnessey January 07, 2013 at 07:04 AM
TPPD Gave up chase to protect citizens who may have gotten hurt. I don't care who or how the got caught! They are in jail. Bad guy loses! Employees gave great description of the offenders and the car. We should be thanking them as well! Nice to all agencies! We are NOT going to let crime take over out town!!! I'm staying in TP and I'm proud to say I live here! Have a great day!!! :)


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