Youth detained in Ottawa store holdup

Teen held BB gun resembling a firearm


A youth now is charged with aggravated robbery – not armed robbery – because the weapon police said was used in the Sunday holdup at Columbus Smoke Shop in Ottawa was a BB gun, albeit one that looked like a real firearm.

On Tuesday, a La Salle County judge ordered that the youth be held in the La Salle County Detention Home until at least July 16, the date of his next appearance.

The youth – whose name will be withheld because the person is a juvenile – also was charged in La Salle County Circuit Court with aggravated battery because a store employee suffered a head injury that was not life-threatening during a struggle with the youth.

Aggravated robbery is a Class 1 felony, and aggravated battery is a Class 3 felony. An adult would face prison sentences of four to 15 years and two to five years, respectively, but juvenile offenders are subject to more diverse sentencing options.

Ottawa police were dispatched at 2:47 p.m. Sunday to the smoke shop, 1116 Columbus St., and found an employee actively restraining the suspect, according to a news release from Ottawa police. Responding officers detained the juvenile and seized a BB gun “designed to resemble an actual firearm” in close proximity to the juvenile, police said.

The injured store employee was taken to OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa for treatment.

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