Judge Denies Bail Reduction for Man Accused of Cigarette Robbery
Claiborne Robertson remains held on $1 million bail; faces natural life in prison if convicted.
A parolee from Chicago with a long criminal history remains held in DuPage County Jail on $1 million bail in connection to his May arrest in a cigarette robbery in Elmhurst.
Claiborne Robertson, 42, appeared in court Tuesday to ask Circuit Judge John Kinsella to reduce his bail. Robertson's attorney said his client is a father to two young children and has a longtime job waiting for him at a Chicago butcher shop.
Prosecutors countered with a brief overview of Robertson's criminal history, which includes previous Class X felony convictions for attempted murder, armed robbery and armed violence dating back more than 20 years. Robertson, along with codefendant Charles Watkins, are accused of posing as "cigarette inspectors" as part of a May 11 robbery at The Little Shopper, prosecutors said.
The two men bound the clerk, and took 780 cigarette cartons with a total value of approximately $40,000. Police were involved in a brief car chase with Robertson and Watkins before the pair crashed their Chevy Tahoe. Robertson was captured after attempting to flee on foot, prosecutors said, adding victims and store video identified Robertson.
"The bond is set very high, however the defendant is in a position where a conviction means natural life," Kinsella explained, noting Robertson is also wanted on a robbery warrant from Cook County.
Robertson, who returns to court Aug. 21, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a 1990 attempted murder and armed robbery conviction. He received at least four other prison terms between 1997 and 2010. His most recent prison stay came from a drug conviction. He was paroled in that case in June 2011.
Watkins, who is accused of pointing a "metal airgun pistol," is scheduled for an Aug. 20 hearing. Both men are being held in DuPage County Jail.