Police: Armed robbers stole from Will County party guests

Police: Armed robbers stole from Will County party guests

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(Left to Right) Darius Strong, Elijah Watson, Deathray Anderson, Rodney Parks, Mitchell Thompson (Left to Right) Darius Strong, Elijah Watson, Deathray Anderson, Rodney Parks, Mitchell Thompson
JOLIET TOWNSHIP, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Five men were arrested after guests at a small party were robbed by armed intruders early Saturday near southwest suburban Joliet.

Will County Sheriff's Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas said police were called about 3:30 a.m. to a house in the 100 block of South Park Road where a group had been socializing until four men wearing dark clothing came in.

"None of them were hiding their identities when they came in, but after a short time, all of them covered their faces with masks or scarves," Kaupas said. "Two of them produced handguns and they began to rob the partygoers of their valuables — including wallets, cell phones and money."

No one was injured and the robbers fled on foot, though police were given a description of a car that had been seen nearby. A short time later deputies reportedly stopped that vehicle in the area and questioned Darius L. Strong, 25, who was alone in the car.

"The registered owner was contacted and said Strong did not have permission to use the vehicle," Kaupas said. "Deputies also learned that there were a few men who had just come to the owner's residence that she didn't know."

That information sent deputies and Joliet police officers to an apartment in the 100 block of South East Circle Drive.

"As officers approached, a man opened the front door and yelled out to others inside the police were there. He tried to force the doors shut, while three other men tried to go out the back door and windows, but all were apprehended," Kaupas said.

Police searched the apartment and found two handguns they believe were used during the robbery and items that were reportedly stolen from the guests.

Deathray V. Anderson, 22, of 222 Anderson Ave.; Rodney G. Parks, 22, of 1508 Fairmont Ave.; Mitchell M. Thompson, 18, of 1614 Fifth Ave.; and Elijah J. Watson, 17, of 160 Wallace St. were arrested on charges of armed robbery and home invasion.

Strong, of 7137 S. Yates Blvd. in Chicago, faces the same charges. In July Strong was released on parole from a 20-year sentence for manslaughter in Cook County in 2003.

Parks was paroled March 4 from Stateville with three months to serve on a conviction for aggravated discharge of a firearm in Will County in 2008.

Anderson is on parole for possession of a stolen firearm in Will County in 2009. He previously served time for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Jail records show Thompson was arrested on vandalism charges in 2011 and theft charges in 2012.

All five men were booked into the county jail and will appear Monday at a bond hearing.

Kaupas said detectives noticed some similarities between Saturday's robbery and a holdup Tuesday night at Mac's Tap, 607 Algonquin St.

About 10:15 p.m., four men wearing ski masks and hockey masks used two guns to rob the cash register, two bartenders and two customers. Kaupas said Joliet police also are investigating any connections these suspects may have to recent armed robberies there.

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