For more than a month, the robbery may have seemed like a home run.
As police allege, Deandre Williams, clad in a St. Louis Cardinals baseball jersey, made solid contact — $1,700 in a March 4 hit on Big Red Liquors’ West Third Street location, where he ordered employees to first empty the register and then the safe in a back room. He ran, and the employees, whom he’d ordered to stay put in the back room, heard the front door’s bell ding as he left. He even made it home, all the way back to Gary, Indiana.
However, the Bloomington Police Department never gave up on the play and Williams was arrested Wednesday, his jersey for 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein a key piece of evidence in the case, Capt. Steve Kellams said.
Williams faces charges of armed robbery and two counts of criminal confinement, all felonies. He could face more charges because Kellams said BPD is investigating his possible involvement in other area armed robberies from around that time.
After the robbery, BPD posted a security camera still of the suspect on its Facebook page and continued to follow leads. Eventually, they identified Williams as a possible suspect and interviewed his girlfriend, a Bloomington resident. The man in the security footage was Williams, she told police.
He still had the jersey.
Kellams said Williams was on parole for an unrelated case, so police contacted Lake County State Parole and asked them to conduct a search of Williams’s residence in Gary. Turned up in the search was the white jersey, number 22, with either Eckstein’s name or a misprint — the probable cause affidavit read “Exkstein,” Kellams said — on the back.
BPD requested and executed a search warrant for the home and seized the jersey as evidence. Kellams said the detective who worked the case is knowledgeable about sports and sports memorabilia.
"‘It should be noted this jersey is very rare and there’s not that many jerseys like it in the general population,’” said Kellams, reading from the affidavit.
Williams was arrested and booked into jail with his alleged criminal at-bat having resulted in a long out.
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