Police Arrest Two Suspects in Robbery Investigations

Media Contact: Lt. Robert Rea | 217-403-6908 | [email protected]


On Wednesday, September 28 at approximately 1:55 AM, Champaign Police apprehended two suspects at Meijer Supermarket in Champaign in connection with two recent robberies.  Arrested was 18-year-old Jaime Travis Varelas of Champaign and a 17-year-old male juvenile, also of Champaign.


Varelas and the juvenile were identified in two reported overnight robberies.  The first incident occurred Tuesday at approximately 10:50 PM, where a female victim reported walking in the area of Fifth and Stoughton when she was shoved to the ground, physically assaulted, and robbed of her cell phone and wallet. At approximately 12:10 AM, officers learned that the victim’s credit card was used at Meijer by two subjects matching the physical and clothing description given by the victim.


A couple of hours later, at approximately 1:55 AM, a male victim reported walking in the area of Third and Springfield when he reported being struck to the ground from behind, physically assaulted and robbed of several items including his wallet, cell phone, computer and backpack.  The victim was transported by ambulance to an area-hospital for what appears to be minor injuries.


Officers responded to Meijer shortly after the second robbery, and after receiving a report that the same suspects returned to the store attempting to use the second victim’s credit card.  Upon arrival, Officers located and arrested the two subjects.  Varelas was transported to the Champaign County Jail and the juvenile was taken to the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center, where both were charged with robbery.


Citizens are encouraged to be aware, to be alert, and to immediately report any unusual or suspicious activity that you may witness to the Police.  During in-progress emergencies, dial 9-1-1.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you see something suspicious in the direction you are heading, change your route.  Also, “see something, say something”—call police with details as soon as possible, for your safety and the possible safety of others.
  • If you are traveling alone with no other means of transportation, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) provides designated “335 SafeRides” from dusk until 6:00 AM.  Call MTD for more details on boarding and route limitations: 217-265-7433.
  • University of Illinois students are also encouraged to take advantage of the campus’s SafeWalks Escort Service, which is available to students for short walking trips on campus by calling 217.333.1216.
  • Stay away from poorly lit areas and avoid taking shortcuts down dark alleyways or paths. Choose well-lit, heavily traveled sidewalks.
  • Pay extra attention to places along your path that could conceal a criminal (shrubbery, recesses, etc.)  Avoid these areas as best as possible.
  • Carry an alarm or whistle that can be used to let those around you know when something is wrong.
  • Do not use headphones or talk on a cell phone while walking alone at night as this reduces your awareness of your surroundings.
  • Carry yourself with confidence.  Keep your head up and don’t be afraid to make eye contact with those you pass.  Walk facing traffic to keep yourself visible.
  • Trust your gut.  If you become concerned or uncomfortable about your surroundings, go to a nearby store, restaurant, or public space that is well-lit and safe.