SPRINGFIELD — A Mechanicsburg man on parole for a 2007 Ogden armed robbery who is wanted in a string of armed robberies that began two weeks ago in Paxton and Danville has been arrested in the state capital.
John W. Beck, 54, was taken into custody last week at a Springfield hotel and is being held at a jail in that city. Sangamon County officials have charged him with aggravated robbery, unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, resisting/obstructing a police officer, violation of parole and possession of a controlled substance.
Paxton police Chief Coy Cornett said Beck was arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Office and Illinois Department of Corrections.
The string of robberies began April 18 at the Village Inn convenience store in Paxton, where a man carrying a club-like weapon took money and cigarettes before leaving in what police said was a stolen a stolen white Prius.
The next day, a man allegedly threatened to pull a gun in a Subway restaurant on North Vermilion Street in Danville, making off with cash.
Police said the description of the thief matched Beck.
The day after that, a man carrying a pipe stole an undetermined amount of cash from Elmwood Community Bank, about 30 miles west of Peoria.
Beck is also suspected of holding up the Odell branch of The Bank of Pontiac in April.
The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office did not indicate whether a weapon was used or how much money was taken.
Beck, who was arrested April 21, is on parole after pleading guilty to armed robbery in August 2009 in Champaign County Circuit Court for a 25-year sentence.
He was released from Sheridan Correctional Center in August.
In the 2007 robbery, Beck entered the Kirchner Building Center and fired a handgun twice, making off with money and the wallet of an employee. No one was hurt.
He was interviewed about that robbery at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., where he was serving a 12.5-year sentence for a bank robbery in Staunton.
He also has previous convictions in 1993 for forgery out of Livingston and Sangamon counties, aggravated robbery out of Macon and Champaign counties and theft and aggravated battery out of Piatt County; and in 1998 for theft out of Adams County.