Two Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students face four felony counts each in relation to a kidnapping and armed robber on the campus April 2.
Shantel R. Rogers, 20, of Decatur and Jabreel Watson, 18, of Chicago, were charged Tuesday with two Class X felony counts of aggravated kidnapping, one Class X felony count of armed robbery and one count of burglary, a Class 2 felony.
Both have been suspended from the university, but not yet expelled, pending due process. Rogers was a sophomore in the School of Nursing and Watson a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Watson allegedly arranged for the victim, an 18 year-old freshman, to pick him up in Glen Carbon around 11:40 p.m. on April 2. When the victim left his residence in Prairie Hall, he was approached by a male with a bandana over his face and wearing a baseball hat backwards, SIUE Police Chief Kevin Schmoll said.
The victim was forced into a car and blindfolded. Police allege Rogers, Watson and a third suspect took the victim to an ATM at University Park, near the campus, where Rogers withdrew money from the victims account. The victim was then questioned by the three as he was driven around for about one hour and 30-45 minutes, before being dropped off near Northwest University Drive and New Poag Road, Schmoll said.
The nature of the questions led police to believe that the victim knew at least one of the suspects. Due to the ongoing investigation, Schmoll declined to provide details of the questions.
Using surveillance video from Prairie Hall, where Watson and the victim both live, police identified Watson returning to the residence hall about five minutes after the victim reported being dropped off. Watson was taken into custody on April 3. Items stolen from the victim’s vehickle were later found in Watson’s room.
During the investigation, Watson told police that he was with Rogers on the night of the incident, which is what led police to her, Schmoll said. Rogers drives a white, 2005, Toyota Camry with Illinois registration P894117, tinted windows, a sunroof and rear spoiler, the car police believe was used in the crime.
Police used footage from the ATM to identify the car’s make and model. The window tinting may have been removed in an attempt to elude police, Schmoll said.
Police are still searching for the car, which they believe may be in Alton. Rogers was arrested in Alton after police called her father, who told them where to find her.
A third suspect in the crime has not yet been identified. Schmoll said the suspect is male, but police do not know his race. Watson and Rogers have been uncooperative in the investigation, Schmoll said.
The victim and Watson were acquaintances prior to the incident, but Schmoll declined to describe the nature of their relationship, citing the ongoing investigation and pending trial.
Schmoll credited students at the university for providing information that assisted the investigation after an alert was sent to faculty, staff and students to inform them of the crime.
“That’s the thing we’re most proud of, Schmoll said.
The armed robbery is the fourth on the campus since 2008. There was a drug related kidnapping at SIUE in 2007 that involved torture by fresh-baked cookies. Suspects in that incident were charged.
The most recent armed robberies occurred in Jan. and Feb. 2013. There have been no charges in either incident. “Neither of those cases really developed,” Schmoll said.
The victim in the January incident told police she believed a person from Iowa, who she met online, drove to Edwardsville to commit the crime, but later stopped cooperating with police.