Peru police chief Doug Bernabei on Tuesday announced a robbery charge has been filed resulting from a Aug. 3 robbery that ultimately led to the death of K-9 Kali.
Dennis Clark Jr., 23, of 7956 S. Justine St., Chicago has been charged with armed robbery, a Class X Felony. Judge Cynthia Raccuglia has set bond at $1 million. Clark is being held in DuPage County Jail charged with a Naperville armed robbery. He will be scheduled for a La Salle County court appearance in the near future.
At 6:46 p.m. Aug. 3, Peru police patrol were dispatched to the Verizon Wireless store at 4329 Route 251 in Peru after a 911 call was received reporting two black males, one armed with a handgun, had just robbed the business.
Five on-duty patrol officers were dispatched to the scene. While en route to the robbery scene, Peru police K-9 officer Art Smith was involved in a traffic crash in the middle of the intersection of Route 251 and Wenzel Road. As a result of the accident, Smith’s partner, K-9 Kali, was ejected from the patrol vehicle and died at 8 p.m. that night.
Since that evening, an intensive investigation into the robbery has been conducted by detectives from the Peru Police Department who coordinated their efforts with numerous Federal and Chicago suburban police agencies.
“I commend the efforts of all of our personnel for their professional response not only that night but over the past month since the robbery,” Bernabei said. “There is no doubt that over the past several years with our close proximity to Chicago and suburban communities along the I-80 corridor there has been an increase in violent criminal groups attempting crimes in the La Salle County area.
“Some very dangerous people with ties to Chicago organized crime groups have come into our community and have committed or attempted to commit a variety of crimes ranging from armed robbery, business burglaries and felony retail thefts. Peru police has made numerous arrests for the robberies, burglaries and retail thefts. It is my belief that our aggressive policing of these crimes coupled with tough prosecution from the La Salle County State Attorney’s office are sending a strong signal that these crimes will simply not be tolerated in Peru and all of La Salle County.”
A warrant was obtained Sept. 3 (one month after the robbery) against the alleged gunman in the Verizon Store armed robbery. Additional charges may be filed later and the investigation is continuing regarding the accessory that drove the getaway vehicle.