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Press Release

Central Illinois Man Sentenced to 144 Months in Prison for Multiple Robbery Charges and Attempted Escape

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

PEORIA, Ill. – A Mechanicsburg, Illinois, man, John W. Beck, 55, of the 500 block of East Main Street, was sentenced on June 29, 2022, to 120 months in prison on each of four counts of interference with commerce by robbery, one count of bank robbery, and one count of armed bank robbery, all to run concurrently. He was also ordered to serve an additional 24 months in prison in relation to his conviction for attempted escape from the Livingston County Jail. That sentence is to be served consecutively to the 120 months in prison imposed for the robbery offenses.

At the sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence that Beck admitted to robbing the following businesses and banks:

      Dollar General in Buffalo, Illinois, on April 8, 2021

      Bank of Pontiac, doing business as Odell Bank, in Odell, Illinois, on April 9, 2021

      Fast Stop Store in Odell, Illinois, on April 17, 2021

      Village Pantry in Paxton, Illinois, on April 18, 2021

      Subway in Danville, Illinois, on April 19, 2021

      Elmwood Bank, a division of Morton Community Bank, in Elmwood, Illinois, on April 20, 2021.

During this robbery spree, Beck stole cars from two different individuals, one on April 7, 2021, in Mechanicsburg and another on April 19, 2021, in Paris, Illinois, as well as a car from Green Hyundai in Springfield, Illinois, on April 16, 2021, and one from Central Illinois Motors in Springfield on April 17, 2021. He also stole license plates from two other individuals, which he then used on the stolen cars.

Beck was arrested on the current charges in April 2021, indicted in May 2021, and has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals since that time. While in custody, in September 2021, Beck attempted to escape from the Livingston County Jail, where he was being held.

Beck pleaded guilty to all charges in January 2022.  There was no plea agreement.

At the time of his arrest, Beck was on supervised release for a bank robbery he committed in 2007, for which he was sentenced to the Bureau of Prisons for 151 months. He was also on state parole for an armed robbery conviction in Champaign County, Illinois. He had been released from federal prison in January 2019 and released from the Illinois Department of Corrections sentence in 2020.

Also at the hearing, U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade found that, because of previous violent crime convictions, as well as the current bank robbery convictions, Beck was a career offender.

U.S. Attorney Gregory Harris commended the exceptional coordination and cooperation of the law enforcement agencies affected by Beck’s crime spree. “The dedication and cooperation of the law enforcement agencies – including the State’s Attorneys’ Offices for Livingston, Peoria, Edgar, Vermilion, Sangamon, and Ford Counties – led to the arrest of John Beck before he could do any more harm to the people and businesses of central Illinois,” Harris said.

“Thanks to the exemplary work of our law enforcement partners, FBI Springfield was able to piece together Beck’s 14-day crime spree allowing for significant federal charges that help ensure he is no longer a menace to Illinois communities,” said Springfield Field Office Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. “This sentence holds Beck accountable for his actions and demonstrates the effectiveness of working collaboratively with our partners to combat violent crime.”

The investigation was conducted by the Sheriff’s Departments in DeWitt, Edgar, Livingston, Peoria, and Sangamon, Illinois, counties; the Danville, Elmwood, Paxton, and Springfield, Illinois, Police Departments; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Office; and the U.S. Marshals Service. Criminal Chief Darilynn J. Knauss represented the government in the prosecution.

Updated July 1, 2022