17-year-old to be tried as adult in string of robberies at Champaign retailers

Mar. 27—URBANA — A 17-year-old who allegedly took part in a crime spree over several days in November at various Champaign businesses will be tried as an adult.

Champaign County Judge Anna Benjamin agreed Monday with Assistant State's Attorney Brooke Hinman that the juvenile court system did not offer enough resources to assist Chaunell Brown, who listed an address in the 500 block of Krebs Drive, Champaign, and that he would be better served in the adult system.

Brown was then arraigned on felony charges of possession of a handgun, robbery, two counts of burglary, and aggravated assault with a weapon for crimes that he allegedly committed on three different days in November, including some allegedly done with his father and other youths.

The charges of possession of a handgun, robbery and burglary all stem from incidents on Nov. 21.

Chaunell Brown is alleged to have been in a group of five people that included his father, Charnell Brown, 40, who went into GameStop, 2517 N. Prospect Ave., C. While two of the group members distracted the clerk, Chaunell Brown and another youth allegedly stole several PlayStations and ran from the store. Chaunell Brown was allegedly armed that day.

About an hour later, the elder Brown allegedly entered the CVS store at 107 W. Green St., C, and asked for the clerk to get some expensive liquor from the case. After the clerk did so, three younger males, including Chaunell Brown, allegedly came in, jumped over the counter and began to attack the clerk, taking the bottles of liquor with them as they ran from the store, later giving them to Charnell Brown.

Chaunell Brown was also charged with a Nov. 17 burglary at Market Place Mall in which he allegedly entered J.D. Sports and took several armloads of clothing without paying for it.

He was also charged with aggravated assault with a weapon alleging that on Nov. 19, as he was being removed from the mall by a security officer, he allegedly displayed a handgun with an extended magazine to one of the guards.

Hinman said on Dec. 21, Champaign police served search warrants at two addresses in connection with the thefts.

Chaunell Brown was found alone in a home in the 700 block of South Duncan Road. As officers were searching, they heard a thud and found a gun under a window that Brown had allegedly tossed there.

That same day, police searched an apartment in the 1800 block of West William Street, Champaign, where Charnell Brown was located. Hinman said police found several items of stolen merchandise in both places.

Charnell Brown has been jailed since Dec. 21 and is awaiting trial. He's due back in court April 12.

Benjamin set bond for the younger Brown at $150,000, meaning he needs $15,000 in cash to win his release from the Juvenile Detention Center. He's due back in court May 10.

A 16-year-old who pleaded guilty in February to the robbery of the CVS clerk is now serving a seven-year sentence in juvenile prison.