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Suspect in pair of Shell gas station robberies sought

A warrant has been issued for a man who is believed to be involved in a string of crimes through Grundy, La Salle and Livingston counties.

The La Salle County warrant for robbery has been issued for Jacob F. Roach, 27, with a last known address believed to be in Cornell or Blackstone. 

La Salle County Sheriff Thomas Templeton said Tuesday afternoon that Roach still was not in custody.

Roach was released on parole about three months ago, said Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan.

At about 9:15 a.m. Sunday morning, the South Wilmington Shell on Rice Street was robbed, said Callahan. A man in a pickup truck pumped about $75 worth of gas. He then went inside the gas station and, when he went to pay for his items and the cashier opened the drawer, "He forced himself behind the counter, pushed the cashier out of the way, and took cash out of the drawer," Callahan said.

A weapon was not shown or implied during the robbery.

A witness tried to stop the man from leaving the gas station, but he got out and took the truck eastbound on Rice Street, said Callahan. It was later discovered the truck he had was stolen.

At about 2:30 p.m. that day, a similar incident occurred at the Grand Ridge Shell station in Grand Ridge, according to a press release from the La Salle County Sheriff's Department.

At the scene, La Salle deputies learned a white male went to make a purchase at the gas station and then demanded the clerk give him money from the cash register drawer. He then fled the scene.

The warrant was later issued regarding the Grand Ridge incident.

Callahan said that, in South Wilmington, they were able to get video surveillance of the man and the vehicle, which are similar in appearance to those in the Grand Ridge crime, of which Roach is suspected. Roach has not been identified on the Grundy surveillance footage, but the crimes are being investigated to see if they are related.

Also on Sunday, it is believed Roach committed retail theft at a Walmart not in Grundy County, said Callahan.

At some point Sunday night, Streator police were in pursuit of the suspect and he crashed the pickup truck he was driving, said Callahan. He then fled on foot and has yet to be found.

La Salle, Livingston and Grundy counties are looking for Roach, Callahan said.

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