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BLOOMINGTON — Two suspects in a series of Twin City armed robberies forced employees to lie on the floor and took their cellphones after demanding money, according to details of the robberies released in court records.

The men must each post $25,035 to be released on the Class X felony charges.

In an interview with police after his arrest, Blackshear admitted he and Nelson committed the robberies, according to a statement presented in court by Assistant State's Attorney Mary Lawson.

The robbery spree began on April 18 with two men entered the Subway restaurant at 2310 E. Oakland St., Bloomington; one of them was armed with a knife, according to surveillance video obtained by police.

The suspects were wearing dark clothing and reflective vests; one wore goggles during the incident that netted $300, according to police.

Workers at Six Points Food and Liquor, 1001 S. Morris Ave., Bloomington, described two men, one of them armed with what appeared to be a handgun, as the suspects who left the store with about $600 cash on April 29.  One of the assailants wore goggles, security camera footage showed.

On May 8, Casey's General Store, 3007 Gill St., Bloomington, was robbed by two men matching the suspects in the two previous hold-ups. A handgun also was believed to be involved in the incident that resulted in the theft of $633, said police.

In the fourth incident, an employee of O'Reilley's Auto Parts, 401 Greenbriar Drive, Normal, told police a man pointed what appeared to be a handgun at him during a May 14 robbery. Two suspects left with $264 in cash.

Employees present at several of the robberies told authorities they were forced to the floor after their cell phones were taken, said the prosecutor's statement.  

 A BB gun found by police during a search of Blackshear's vehicle supported the suspect's contention that such a gun was used during the robberies, said the court statement. 

"While it is a BB gun, it does have some weight to it that could be used as a blunt object, thus making it a dangerous weapon," said the court statement.

Police also received reports that Blackshear had allegedly bragged about the robberies at work.

If convicted, the suspects could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

Normal investigating armed robbery, possible link to previous incidents

Contact Edith Brady-Lunny at (309) 820-3276. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_blunny

McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.