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Article posted: 7/18/2013 3:38 PM

Man guilty of 2011 Elgin pizza parlor holdup faces life term

By Harry Hitzeman

A Kane County jury convicted a 47-year-old Chicago man of armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping and armed violence for a botched holdup of a Little Caesar's Pizza on Elgin's near west side in October 2011 in which he fired a gun into the floor in an attempt to scare two employees into opening a safe.

Charles Fleming, of the 9700 block of South Wentworth Avenue and formerly of Elgin, faces mandatory life in prison when sentenced Sept. 25 because this conviction marks his third Class X felony offense.

Fleming had two previous armed robbery convictions in Cook County in 2000 and 2008 from offenses in 1998 and 2006, respectively, Kane County prosecutors said.

Under state law, a third Class X felony conviction designates a defendant as a habitual criminal and triggers the life term.

During a nearly three-day trial this week before Judge John Barsanti, Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams argued that on Oct. 2 Fleming entered the restaurant at 551 N. McLean Blvd. with a .38-caliber pistol and held two employees for more than three hours in an attempt to have them open a safe, which was on a time lock.

Fleming robbed the two employees, beat a male employee with a wooden rod, took money from the cash register and fired a single shot into the floor to scare them into opening the safe.

Fleming eventually fell asleep, the two employees escaped and Fleming was caught by police after he ran out a side door, Sams said.

The jury deliberated about an hour Wednesday before deciding the case. Fleming has been held at the Kane County jail since his arrest and his bond was revoked after the guilty verdict.

Fleming is next due in court Sept. 18, when Kane County Assistant Public Defender Juanita Archuleta is expected to file a motion for a new trial, a routine step after any conviction. A message left for Archuleta was not immediately returned Thursday.

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