1 found guilty in Carbondale convenience store armed robbery

1 found guilty in Carbondale convenience store armed robbery
Arthur Eckles Jr.
(Source: Rob Foote, KFVS)
(Source: Rob Foote, KFVS)

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - A man from Calumet City, Illinois was found guilty of armed robbery and aggravated robbery by a Jackson County jury Friday, April 30.

Arthur Eckles Jr., 44, is behind bars on a half-million dollar bond in connection to an armed robbery in Carbondale Ill.

According to the State's Attorney's office, after a four-day trial, the jury found Eckles guilty of armed robbery, a class X felony, and aggravated robbery, a class 1 felony.

Eckles used a firearm during the robbery and because of this the sentencing range for armed robbery is a minimum of 21 years, and a maximum of 45 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections with no chance of probation.

Aggravated robbery carries a sentence of four to 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. A sentencing hearing which has not yet been set.

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It happened at 12:32 a.m. on Oct. 13. According to police, two suspects went inside Circle K at 1901 South Illinois Avenue wearing Halloween masks and demanded cash.

Police said one of the men had a handgun. They got away with cash and merchandise.

The investigation led police to Arthur Eckles, Jr.

Members of the Carbondale Police Department's investigative task force found Eckles in Carbondale. He was arrested on Oct. 14 at 3:45 p.m.

On the same day, officers identified Eckles selling packs of cigarettes in Carbondale. During the investigation, officers determined that a pack of cigarettes he was selling likely came from a carton sold at Circle K because of the tax stamps on each package.

After Eckles was arrested, officers found and seized other evidence of his involvement in the robbery including clothing worn by the defendant captured by a surveillance video.

The day after the crime, Edward Lydic, a regular at the Circle K on South Illinois Ave and Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale said, "By in large, evidently, these guys must be good. They haven't caught them yet...I've never seen anyone cause any trouble here before…news to me!"

Another man in the neighborhood, Joe Baker, had a similar reaction.

"It's not common in this area at all. But I have noticed, but of course it could be my perception – it seems like crime is increasing and armed crime and violent crime, it's really going up," he said.

Lydic did not believe the suspects were his own neighbors. "Whoever's doing this, I think they are out of towners. I don't think they are from around here."

An SIU student that lives across the street, Angela Jordan, is now taking precautions. She said, "Usually I get my gas at night and that's kind of unsafe, being that I am a college student. I just don't want to be in a predicament where I can't get myself out of a situation."

The investigation into this crime and the series of armed robberies that have occurred in Carbondale and Herrin since late July are ongoing. They are all being investigated as related.

The City of Carbondale and the City of Herrin previously partnered to offer a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and the conviction of those responsible for the recent string of armed robberies in both cities. The two cities continue to call upon the public to provide any information they may have regarding these crimes.

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