SYCAMORE - A Chicago man and a DeKalb man are facing charges after state police said they robbed a 7-Eleven at the DeKalb Oasis at gunpoint and sped off in a stolen car, leading state troopers on a chase through Warrenville.
Kevin D. Bland Jr., 22, of the 1000 block of South Karlov Avenue in Chicago, and Benny N. Smith, 27, of the 800 block of Crane Drive in DeKalb, are both charged with armed robbery, a Class X felony, and unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle, a Class 2 felony. If convicted of the most serious crime of armed robbery, both men could face up to 45 years in jail and fines up to $25,000.
Bland and Smith appeared before DeKalb County Circuit Court Judge Phillip Montgomery on Thursday from the DeKalb County Jail for a virtual bond hearing after they were arrested by Illinois State troopers on Wednesday.
According to DeKalb County court records, the incident occurred around 2:30 a.m., when the two men, carrying a firearm, allegedly stole money and an IPhone 11 from a woman working as a cashier at the 7-Eleven at the I-88 DeKalb Oasis.
According to police reports, the men threatened the cashier with “imminent use of force.”
According to a news release from the Illinois State Police District 15 Investigations team, ISP troopers responded to reports of an armed robbery at eastbound interstate Oasis Mobil gas station, 2700 Crego Road, around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. The officers then learned the two men, later identified as Bland and Smith, had fled the scene in a white 2003 Dodge Caravan with Illinois license plates, knowing it was stolen.
A short time later, a state trooper located the Dodge Caravan traveling eastbound near North Aurora on I-88 and attempted to stop the vehicle, reports state, but was unsuccessful.
According to the ISP release, the trooper pursued the Caravan until the driver slowed and drove into a ditch near milepost 124.25 in Naperville, at which point Bland and Smith exited the car and fled on foot.
Multiple police agencies in the area were called to respond and assist in the chase, and Bland and Smith were both located and taken into custody in Warrenville, according to the ISP.
During Smith’s bond hearing, Montgomery set Smith’s bond at $150,000 at the request of the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s office. Montgomery said his ruling was also due to Smith’s criminal history, which includes six prior failures to appear for a court hearing, and three prior felony offenses. Smith, who would have to post $15,000 to get out of jail, is also being held on an outstanding Cook County warrant, Montgomery said.
During Bland’s bond hearing, Montgomery set his bond at $75,000. Bland would need to post $7,500 to get out of jail.
Both men are due back for a status hearing on the charges in DeKalb County at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 16.