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Armed robbery charge filed

PERU – An armed robbery charge has been filed against a Chicago man who allegedly was the gunman involved in the Peru Verizon Wireless Store robbery on Aug. 3, which involved the death of Peru K-9 Kali.

Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei announced in a press release that a warrant was obtained for Dennis Clark Jr., 23, on Sept. 3, which was just one month after the robbery.

Clark is currently being held in the DuPage County Jail after being charged with a Naperville armed robbery. He will be scheduled for a LaSalle County Court appearance in the near future. LaSalle County Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia has set bond at $1 million.

Bernabei stated in his press release that additional charges may be filed later and the investigation is continuing regarding the accessory that drove the getaway vehicle. He commended the efforts of all police personnel for their professional response the night of the robbery and through the past month.

“There is no doubt that over the past several years with our close proximity to Chicago and suburban communities along the Interstate 80 corridor, there has been an increase in violent criminal groups attempting crimes in the LaSalle County area,” he said. “Some very dangerous people with ties to Chicago organized crime groups have come into our community and have committed or attempted to commit a variety of crimes ranging from armed robbery, business burglaries and felony retail thefts.”

On Aug. 3, Peru Police responded to the Verizon Wireless Store, located north of Peru. A 9-1-1 call reported two black males, one armed with a handgun, had just robbed the business. Five officers were dispatched to the scene. While en route, Peru Police K-9 Officer Art Smith was involved in a traffic crash at the intersection of Route 251 and Wenzel Road. As a result of the accident, Smith’s partner, Kali, was ejected from the patrol vehicle and died later that night.

Bernabei stated since that evening, an intensive investigation into the robbery has been conducted by detectives from the Peru Police Department who coordinated their efforts with numerous federal and Chicago suburban police agencies.

“It is my belief that our aggressive policing of these crimes coupled with tough prosecution from the LaSalle County State Attorney’s office are sending a strong signal that these crimes will simply not be tolerated in Peru and all of LaSalle County,” he said.

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