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Suspect sought in Big D armed robbery – one of three in 2 days

August 23, 2018

ROCK FALLS – Police are looking for a male suspect who robbed Big D’s Video Slots, 200 East Fourth Street, shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, in the third armed robbery to have happened in Sterling and Rock Falls on Monday and Tuesday.

The man is 5-foot-8 to 6 feet tall, slim, and he was wearing a gray and black sweatshirt. His face was covered, Rock Falls police said in a news release sent at 8 this morning.

No further information, including the type of weapon used, was provided in a news release, which initially reported the wrong day of the third robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to call Rock Falls Police at 815-622-1140 or Whiteside County Crime Stoppers at 815-625-7867.

It has not been determined whether the Big D’s robbery was done by the same person who robbed the former BP gas station, now a Phillips 66, at 2218 E. Fourth St. in Sterling shortly after 9 p.m. Monday.

Wednesday afternoon, Sterling police arrested Jason E. Graham, 26, of Morrison, in connection with that robbery, in which the robber appeared to use a handgun.

Graham is in Whiteside County Jail charged with armed robbery, and has a bond hearing at 1 this afternoon.

Sterling police also are working on a news release in the third robbery. Information has been released over the course of the past 2 days in a manner designed not to compromise their hunt for the suspects, and for that reason, some information, including the type of weapon used in the Big D robbery, will not yet be made public, investigators said today.

El Vaquero Food Market, 1221 W. Fourth Street, was robbed at gunpoint around 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Jacinda I. Garza, 38, of Sterling is in Whiteside County Jail on $250,000 bond, charged with armed robbery in that case.

According to court records, Garza, armed with a pistol, robbed owner Jose M. Cano of $100.

Cano, who has owned the restaurant and convenience store about 25 years, knows Garza; her family has been longtime customers, he said in an interview Wednesday.

Garza, who was convicted 18 years ago of dealing cocaine, was free on bond in a felony theft case in Dixon when she was arrested Tuesday in Sterling in the El Vaquero case, court records show.

Garza and a white man came to his store twice on Monday, he believes looking for an opening to rob him, before they came back the third time and Garza pulled the gun, Cano said.

“She was acting like she was very high on drugs,” and their behavior put him on alert.

“She was acting very, very abnormal,” he said.

The first time, the man came in after Garza, went to the back of the store and deliberately broke a bottle in an attempt to draw attention to himself, and to draw Cano away from the counter, Cano said, but he did not fall for the trick.

At the same time, Garza had put items on the counter she planned to buy, then told Cano she had no money, that she had lost $100. They two left.

They came back about an hour later, the man stayed outside and Garza asked Cano if he had found her money, They left again, and she came back 10 seconds later and told him she’d found the money.

The next time they came back, at 2:30 p.m., the man again stayed outside, and she robbed him of $100, Cano said.

Garza has a preliminary hearing Sept. 10.

In Lee County, her theft charge comes in relation to the July 22 break-in at Wendy’s, 212 W. Everett St.

According to conditions of her bond – which she posted on her Facebook page – she is not to go within 500 feet of Wendy’s, and she is to have no contact with Charles Calvin Price.

Price, 33, of Franklin Grove; was arrested July 27 and charged with burglary, which carries 3 to 7 years, and, like Garza, theft worth more than $500, which carries 2 to 5 years.

He is in Lee County Jail on $75,000 bond, and has a status hearing Friday.

In 2000, Garza was sentenced to 4 years probation in Whiteside County Court for selling cocaine. She violated the terms of her release and was sentence in 2002 to 4 years with the Department of Corrections.

In February 2008, she was sentenced to 2 years of court supervision for misdemeanor DUI alcohol.

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