Chicagoan Gets 19 Years for Armed Cigarette Robbery | NBC Chicago

Chicagoan Gets 19 Years for Armed Cigarette Robbery

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    Charles Watkins (left), Claiborne Robertson

    A Chicago man with a long criminal record will serve a 19-year prison sentence for an armed robbery that netted him more 700 cartons of cigarettes worth some $40,000.

    A DuPage County judge sentenced 42-year-old Charles Watkins on Friday for the 2012 robbery at an Elmhurst store.

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    Police said two men, Claiborne Robertson and Tyrone Watkins, both of Chicago, entered the Little Shopper store, claimed to be police inspectors needing to check cigarette stamps.

    They handcuffed the clerk in a back room, TribLocal Elmhurst reported, citing police, and left the store with 780 cartons of cigarettes.

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    Robertson and Watkins made it as far as the Eisenhower Expressway and 25th Street before they were apprehended by police, Elmhurst Police Chief Dominic Panico said.

    "Cigarettes, unlike 25 or 30 years ago, are very expensive. As you can see, they have a high value," said Panico.

    Robertson, 42, of the 4200 block of West Crystal Street, and Watkins, 41, of the 4200 block of West Iowa Street, were each charged with one count of armed robbery with a firearm, authorities said.