Paxton Police Blotter: Arrests made for traveling to meet minor, cannabis manufacturing, retail theft

PAXTON — The Paxton Police Department released the following list of recent activity:

— Shawn D. Symons, 28, of Piper City, was arrested for violation of a no-contact order, obstructing justice/identification and threatening a public official during a traffic stop at 12:21 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, on northbound Interstate 57 near mile post 263, just north of Paxton. The traffic stop was conducted after Paxton police were notified by the Ford County Sheriff’s Office that Symons — who was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for a violation of the no-contact order and taken to the county jail in Paxton the night prior — had been released from jail and picked up in a vehicle by the person with whom he was ordered to have no contact. During the traffic stop, Symons allegedly provided a false name to police and threatened to harm the arresting officer.

— Lindsey M. Alsene, 26, of Paxton, was arrested for two counts of misdemeanor retail theft at 10:26 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in connection with the alleged theft of cold medicine on two occasions in October from the Paxton IGA, 144 W. Pells St. Paxton police received a report from the grocery store on Friday, Oct. 6, alleging that a woman had stolen children’s cold medicine valued at $5.45 from the IGA at 11:24 a.m. that day. Another report followed on Tuesday, Oct. 31, alleging the same woman had stolen adult cold medicine valued at $6.09 at 11:53 p.m. that day. Both thefts were captured on surveillance video, which was used to develop a description of the woman’s vehicle. The vehicle description was then entered into the police department’s searchable Flock Safety license-plate-reader database, which helped police identify the vehicle and its registered owner.

— William G. Johnson, 30, of Allerton, Ill., was arrested for traveling to meet a minor, indecent solicitation of a child, solicitation to meet a child and resisting/obstructing a police officer on Sunday, Nov. 12, as part of the Paxton Police Department’s ongoing online sting targeting child predators. Johnson allegedly began communicating online on Monday, Oct. 16, with a person he believed to be a minor but was actually an undercover police officer. Johnson eventually arranged to meet the child in Paxton. Johnson was apprehended in the 500 block of West Ottawa Road around 2:11 a.m. after arriving there in a 2000 Ford Ranger, which was seized by police under Article 36 of the Illinois Criminal Code.

— No injuries were reported and no tickets were issued following a two-vehicle accident at 6:40 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Holmes Street. The accident occurred when a northbound 2019 Dodge driven by Erin D. Blangin, 50, of Paxton, struck the rear of a northbound 2019 Lincoln driven by Brandon Knight, 20, of Paxton, after Knight slowed down in preparation for turning left onto Holmes Street from Railroad Avenue.

— Eric L. Kaufman, Aug 68, of Rankin, was ticketed for failure to yield following a two-vehicle accident at 1:40 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at the intersection of Pells Street and Railroad Avenue. The accident occurred a 2003 Jeep Liberty driven by Tamara L. Carleton, 65, of Paxton, was eastbound on Pells Street and was struck head-on by a westbound 2019 Jeep Compass driven by Kaufman as Carleton was turning south onto Railroad Avenue. Carleton was transported to Gibson Area Hospital for treatment of what police described as minor injuries, while Kaufman declined medical treatment at the scene.

— Chana K. McCormick, 21, of Palos Park, was arrested for resisting/obstructing a police officer and ticketed for illegal transportation of adult-use cannabis, expired vehicle registration and speeding during a traffic stop at 8:27 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and State Street. The traffic stop was conducted after Paxton police saw McCormick driving a 2006 Ford Explorer with expired registration at 56 mph in a 40-mph speed zone. During the traffic stop, police noticed a strong odor of cannabis coming from the vehicle, which they subsequently searched, finding four baggies containing a combined 19.2 grams of cannabis.

— Joe Mobley, 58, of Paxton, was arrested for domestic battery for allegedly committing an act of domestic battery against a family member on Thursday, Nov. 9, after Paxton police responded to a domestic situation in the 200 block of East Pine Street at 12:03 a.m.

— Zachary W. Duke, 36, of Arrowsmith, was arrested on numerous charges — including possession with intent to deliver 500-2,000 grams of cannabis, possession of 500-2,000 grams of cannabis, resisting a police officer, fleeing/attempting to elude police and driving with a revoked driver’s license — after leading authorities from several jurisdictions on a multi-county chase that started in McLean County and finally ended in Ford County after the sheriff’s office deployed spike strips to disable his vehicle on the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 7. Around 4:52 p.m., Paxton police and Ford County sheriff’s deputies joined the pursuit of a 1998 Ford Explorer driven by Duke, who had earlier fled from the McLean County Sheriff’s Office, LeRoy Police Department, Fisher Police Department and Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. One of Paxton’s four Flock Safety automated license plate reading cameras alerted on the vehicle as it entered Paxton. When a Paxton police officer got behind the vehicle to initiate a traffic stop, the vehicle turned south onto U.S. 45, where sheriff’s deputies were already waiting and used spike strips to puncture three of the vehicle’s tires. Even with the vehicle disabled, Duke refused to exit the vehicle after it came to a stop in the area of County Road 100 North, just north of Ludlow, causing police to shatter a window in order to get him removed. In his vehicle, police found 796.8 grams of cannabis and two jars containing cannabis seeds. The vehicle was seized by police under city ordinance. Duke reportedly swerved at a LeRoy police officer’s squad car during the chase.

— James M. Sharp, 37, of Paxton, was arrested for theft of a motor vehicle, theft and obstructing justice on Tuesday, Nov. 7, for allegedly selling a 1991 Ford F-150 pickup truck that is owned by someone else who had paid him to repair it. Sharp became the focus of an investigation by Paxton police after they took a report of a stolen vehicle on Monday, Oct. 23, from Sharp, who claimed the vehicle was stolen from his property at 1165 Roselawn Avenue last March. An investigation revealed that Sharp, in actuality, had sold the vehicle, which police later recovered and returned to its owner.