An arrest has been made in connection with the April 12 robbery of Foster Jewelry at 106 N. Main St., Washington, according to Washington Police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker. 


Peoria and Washington police arrested Justine M. Mooberry, 23, Marquette Heights, April 27 and charged her with aggravated robbery. She is currently being held at the Peoria County Jail. Bond is set at $7,500.


Story updated May 3

 

An arrest has been made in connection with the April 12 robbery of Foster Jewelry at 106 N. Main St., Washington, according to Washington Police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker. 

Peoria and Washington police arrested Justine M. Mooberry, 23, Marquette Heights, April 27 and charged her with aggravated robbery. She is currently being held at the Peoria County Jail. Bond is set at $7,500.

Another suspect is still at-large.

“We are still trying to track down the male accomplice who actually went into the store,” Kuchenbecker said. “We are aggressively looking for him and have enlisted assistance from other agencies.”

Kuchenbecker said there is no reason to believe the male suspect is a threat to anyone in the surrounding communities, because, as he said on Tuesday,  “we don’t believe he is still in the area ... or in possession of the weapon.”

“If we thought he was armed and dangerous, we would certainly let folks know that,” he said. 

On the morning of April 12, a 5-foot-10-inch, 180 -pound, white male about 25 years old entered the jewelry store on the square around 9:30 and engaged owner Joe Foster about possible rings for his girlfriend. 

He was wearing a blue T-shirt, cream or khaki colored pants and a tan baseball hat — and carrying a child’s car seat.

The suspect engaged Foster in a conversation about layaway policies, and after they moved to the cash register to fill out paperwork, the suspect produced a black pistol and told Foster to empty the register. The suspect fled the scene on foot in an unknown direction.

Kuchenbecker added Tuesday that the department is no longer certain what kind of weapon the suspect took into the store in the first place, whether it was an actual pistol or non-lethal weapon.

When the call came into the police station at 10:02 a.m., Kuchenbecker said the department had officers at the scene within a few seconds as one officer was already in the area. According to the police report, Foster was the only other person in the building at the time.

The Illinois State Police Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit was on the scene shortly thereafter to gather evidence.

Foster Jewelry has been notified of the arrest and that the police department has recovered some of the stolen rings.

“We are trying to get everything resolved to put some closure on this by making the arrests and getting back the stolen property,” Kuchenbecker said. “We have information that leads us to believe some (of the property) was sold — pawned or whatever — and may be in Chicago.”

Kuchenbecker said the enlisting of other police departments from Eureka, Peoria and the state, helped the Washington Police Department apprehend the suspect so quickly.

“Ever since this happened we’ve been really plugged in on this,” he said. “This is unique for this community. ... Anytime you have a robbery where someone shows a weapon, that’s a violent crime. We had a lot of dots out there in the other communities where information started to trickle in through confidential sources and Crime Stoppers.”

Kuchenbecker said at this point it is premature to say if this could be linked to other robberies, but did acknowledge similar ones have occurred in surrounding communities.

“We do know that similar types of robberies occurred, but we are not saying that (these suspects) did or did not do it. There were similarities in crimes in other jurisdictions that are high on our radar screen and we are trying to connect the dots.”

Kuchenbecker said being able to apprehend a suspect is a reflection of all of the hard work put in by detectives over the past few weeks, especially Detective Commander Jeff Stevens.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to work a case and have the cooperation from several jurisdictions. ... We are very proud of our department and in particular — our detectives...” he said.