Man sentenced to 19 years for armed robbery of Elmhurst cigarette store

ELMHURST – A Chicago man was sentenced to 19 years in prison today for stealing more than 700 cartons of cigarettes from an Elmhurst cigarette store.

Charles Watkins, 42, of Chicago, pleaded guilty today to one count of armed robbery, a class X felony.

Watkins, armed with a gun, and Claiborne Robertson, 44, also of Chicago, allegedly entered a cigarette store on York Road in Elmhurst May 11, 2012 and told the clerk they were government inspectors. The two men allegedly told the clerk they needed to inspect the cigarettes, then led the clerk to a back storage room where they handcuffed him before fleeing with the merchandise, according to a news release from the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office.

Watkins and Robertson were apprehended a short time later after a brief chase.

Robertson's next court appearance is a status hearing scheduled for Nov. 18.