Three in custody following phone store hold-up, police chase

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WOOD RIVER, Ill. – Three people were arrested Monday after a frightening hold-up and two-state police pursuit.

According to police, two masked men robbed a Wood River, Illinois Verizon phone store around 1:40 p.m. Sunday and then led police on a chase across the Mississippi River into north St. Louis County.

There were no customers in the store when one of the suspects pulled a gun on a worker and demanded cash from the safe, as well as the cash register, plus cellphones. The suspects drove off, speeding away on nearby Illinois Highway 255.

The suspects crashed their vehicle and attempted to run away but were quickly apprehended.

The suspects’ vehicle, a stolen KIA SUV, has a least six bullet holes in the windshield.

The two suspects and their getaway driver had one handgun among them but those bullet holes did not come from this incident, police said.

“Now that we’ve got them identified, we’ll be able to take a look at any prior activity they may have been involved in that would have caused those gunshots into that windshield,” said Wood River Police Chief Brad Wells. “None of that happened during the pursuit. The Wood River officer that was involved indicated one of the suspects did point the gun at him out of the window during the pursuit but there were no shots fired.”

The suspects didn’t know police were already looking for them, thanks to alert shoppers at neighboring businesses.

“We had people that were out Sunday afternoon, normal shopping,” Chief Wells said. “They noticed something very suspicious. Hats off to those people who made those phone calls.”

Witnesses provided a description of the vehicle, the suspects, and their direction of travel.

A South Roxanna, Illinois police officer picked up their trail. A Wood River officer caught up to them. The pursuit ended when the suspects caused a three-car crash at Dunn and Bellefontaine Roads in north St. Louis County.

A woman in one of the other vehicles was hospitalized, police said.

St. Louis County and Bellefontaine Neighbors police helped work the crash scene and capture the suspects.

“We had the vehicle and recovered very damaging evidence for the suspects related to the robbery,” Chief Wells said.

That evidence includes a handgun, the stolen cash, and merchandise. Charges related to the robbery and pursuit were still pending as of late afternoon. More charges could be possible once investigators figure out the origin of those gunshots.

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