BLOOMINGTON — Before he became a suspect in the shooting death of a U.S. marshal in Rockford on Thursday, Floyd E. Brown was a serial burglar and on the radar of Central Illinois police agencies investigating 50 break-ins from March through December of last year.
The 39-year-old Springfield man is charged with murder in state and federal court in connection with the death of Jake Keltner, a 35-year-old McHenry County sheriff's deputy serving with the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Brown could face the death penalty in the federal case.
Among the arrest warrants Keltner was attempting to serve when he was allegedly shot in the head by Brown outside a Rockford motel was a Bloomington warrant naming Brown as a suspect in three local burglaries. Bond is set at $200,000.
The McLean County charges involve break-ins of two homes in Bloomington —in December in the 3200 block of Dorset Court, in May in the 10 block of Stonehedges Court, and in June in the 500 block of Ironwood Drive in Normal. Brown also is charged with reckless driving stemming from the Dorset Court break-in.
Bloomington and Normal police were not the only agencies looking into Brown's apparent propensity for burglary, according to Bloomington Police Department Public Affairs Officer John Fermon.
"This was a very big, multi-jurisdictional investigation," said Fermon, and included Champaign, Peoria and Springfield police.
The investigation and Brown's status as a person of interest into the Central Illinois burglaries is ongoing, he said.
Bloomington police had been looking for Brown since late December when he managed to elude officers on foot after a high-speed chase that started when officers spotted him near the scene of a burglary in the 3200 block of Dorset Drive on the city's east side.
Brown drove without lights on Veterans Parkway, before crashing his black Charger into three other vehicles, according to police.
The fugitive task force also had active warrants for Brown for a Champaign County burglary, failure to appear in court in Sangamon County and parole violations related to Macon County residential burglary convictions.
Brown, considered armed and dangerous by police while he was a fugitive, had a semi-automatic weapon in his car when the vehicle was stopped Thursday on Interstate 55 near Lincoln after a pursuit that topped more than 100 mph.
The BPD also has an officer assigned to work with the U.S. Marshals task force, said Fermon.
"It's extremely beneficial to be part of the marshals task force. They have the expertise to go after the top-tier warrants, including our armed and dangerous subjects," said Fermon.
The Great Lakes task force includes officers from state and local agencies in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin and five other agencies.
The local investigation remains active, said BPD.
Anyone with information regarding Floyd's burglary cases is asked to contact BPD Detective Jared Bierbaum at 309-434-2807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.