BLOOMINGTON - Police arrested two men in five robberies - three since Jan. 27 - during a traffic stop Thursday night, authorities said.
Investigators think Theodore Howard, 22, and Jason Castro, 19, both listed in court documents at an address in the 800 block of Valley View Circle in Bloomington, robbed three Bloomington businesses in the last eight days and also robbed taxi drivers Dec. 21 and Jan. 6, police said. They are accused in holdups Jan. 27 at a Chase bank branch at 413 E. Washington St.; Jan 28 at West Side Food & Beverage, 906 S. Morris Ave.; and Jan. 31 at Steak 'n Shake, 10001 Wylie Drive.
The first taxi robbery was in the 500 block of West Front Street, and the second was in the 1200 block of Sandburg Drive, police said.
Bloomington Police spokesman Duane Moss said the men were arrested in a traffic stop about 10:15 p.m. Thursday along West Market Street near Interstate 55.
Another arrest may be pending in the case, Moss said. Police previously reported three men were involved in the restaurant robbery, and witnesses had said only two men robbed the other two businesses.
Witnesses told police one man had a handgun in each of the business robberies. Moss said he did not know Friday afternoon which of the men is accused of holding the gun in the robberies.
Moss said he was told evidence at the business crime scenes - which he can't comment on - and tips from citizens led investigators to Howard and Castro. The men were wanted on warrants at the time of the traffic stop, a media release said.
And Moss said police may be close to solving the other two business robberies this month, which occurred within about 90 minutes of each other Jan. 23 at National City Bank, 1332 E. Empire St., and Midwest Title Loans, 604 IAA Drive. A man sprayed clerks with an eye irritant and came across counters to get cash.
"We've got, what I've been told, some really good leads on that guy, and it's just a matter of finding him," Moss said.