Cops: "Inspectors" Stole $39K in Cigarettes

Men claimed to be inspectors, walked out of convenience store with 780 cartons of cigarettes, police say

Wednesday, May 16, 2012  |  Updated 12:40 AM CDT
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Cops: "Inspectors" Stole $39K in Cigarettes

Charles Watkins (left), Claiborne Robertson

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Two Chicago men were arrested Friday for robbing an Elmhurst store of $39,000 worth of cigarettes, police said.

The two men, Claiborne Robertson and Tyrone Watkins, both of Chicago, entered the Little Shopper store on Friday morning at around 9:42, 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.

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.

Both men were being held on $100,000 bond and will be transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections without bond when released from DuPage County Jail, according to the DuPage County Sheriff’s office’s website.

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