State Briefs 6/11/08

Burglar steals cash-register drawer

ROCKFORD – A burglar reached into the drive-through window of a Popeyes restaurant Tuesday night and made off with a cash-register drawer containing an undisclosed amount of money.

Rockford Deputy Police Chief Greg Lindmark said the restaurant was closed, but people still were inside when the theft occurred.

The burglar is described as a black male, about 5-foot-7, weighing 180 to 200 pounds, and wearing a baggy white shirt and dark pants.

Rockford Register Star

Three plead guilty to bomb threat

LINCOLN – Three Lincoln women accused of making a bomb threat at Lincoln Community High School have pleaded guilty.

Kimberly D. Reebel, 19, Molly M. Knowles, 17, and Alexandria K. Springer, 18, were charged in connection with a bomb threat that cleared LCHS on Nov. 1 of last year. All were students at LCHS at the time.

All three women faced charges of giving a false bomb alarm, a felony, and making a false report to a public safety agency, a misdemeanor.

Reebel and Knowles pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge in Logan County Circuit Court on Thursday. As part of separate plea agreements, the felony charges against each of the women were dropped.

They each were sentenced to 90 days in jail, 24 months probation, court costs and restitution in the amount of $985 to Lincoln Community High School.

Springer received the same sentence as part of an identical plea agreement entered into court records May 15.

The bomb threat was discovered written on a mirror in a women’s restroom around 7:10 a.m. Nov. 1.

Lincoln Courier

Cat approves bigger dividend

PEORIA – Caterpillar Inc.’s board of directors voted Wednesday to increase the company’s quarterly cash dividend by 6 cents a share — or 17 percent — to 42 cents a share.

The dividend will be payable Aug. 20 to shareholders of record at the close of business July 21, the company said in a news release issued prior to its annual shareholders meeting in Chicago.

The company said its cash dividend has nearly tripled in the last decade. Also, it said it has paid a dividend every quarter since November 1933 — 299 consecutive quarters — and has paid higher dividends in each of the last 15 years.

Journal Star, Peoria

Fight between brothers ends in death

HENRY – The latest fight between two brothers who frequently got into arguments ended when one of them allegedly killed the other Tuesday afternoon at their rural Henry home site, Marshall County authorities said.

James J. Pehm, 30, is accused of shooting his older brother, Fred J. Pehm, 41, "multiple times" with a .22-caliber rifle at the site where they and their mother lived in mobile homes along Illinois Route 29 south of Henry, said Sheriff Rob Russell.

James Pehm was taken into custody after an approximately one-hour standoff in which he held a gun to his own head before police succeeded in coaxing him out of a mobile home, Russell said.

Police were still investigating Tuesday, but it appeared the shooting followed an argument that occurred for uncertain reasons when Fred Pehm went to the site to get his mail, "and it escalated from there," Russell said.

Fred Pehm was initially taken by ambulance to the Marshall County Airport in Lacon for possible transport by helicopter to Peoria. But he was pronounced dead in Lacon by Life Flight personnel at 1:54 p.m., said Marshall County Coroner David Lenz Jr.

James Pehm was booked into the county jail on a charge of first-degree murder.  Although details were not immediately available, Russell said both of the Pehms had some past history with police for various offenses including battery charges stemming from fights.

Journal Star, Peoria

Firetruck to escort former Peoria fire chief to cemetery

PEORIA - The Peoria Fire Department will offer a fitting send-off for retired Fire Chief Roy Modglin, who died Sunday.

The man often remembered as an old-school firefighter and a self-professed workaholic will be escorted by a Peoria engine company to his final resting place, Fire Chief Kent Tomblin said Tuesday.

"He will be given his last ride to the cemetery on one of our fire trucks," said Tomblin, one of Modglin's close friends.

Modglin, 61, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack. A visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Davison-Fulton Woodland Chapel will be open to the public. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the chapel, with burial in Parkview Cemetery.

Journal Star, Peoria

Driver hits semi full of oil, starts fire

KICKAPOO – A Brimfield man is in fair condition after he crashed into the back of a semi carrying containers of oil that was parked on a ramp off of Interstate 74, causing a fire that took hours to control Tuesday.

Matthew Weaver, 32, was cited with driving under the influence of alcohol after his SUV slammed into the back of the parked semi, driven by Joseph C. Sebastian, according to a Peoria County sheriff's report.

Sebastian, 51, of Shiloh told authorities he pulled off onto the Kickapoo-Edwards exit ramp about 2 a.m. for a break. About 15 minutes later, he felt his semi move as if it were hit, he said. He looked out his window and saw Weaver's vehicle and his trailer engulfed in flames.

Sebastian used a fire extinguisher to attempt to get Weaver out of his vehicle, but was unable to open the door. He continued to spray the vehicle, as the fire was quickly spreading, according to reports.

Weaver was finally able to escape and was taken to OSF Saint Francis Medical center, where he was listed in fair condition Monday night.

Preliminary tests showed Weaver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.271 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. He was cited with DUI and also failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Brimfield Fire Chief Ken Fishel said the fire proved difficult to extinguish because the trailer had been carrying quarts of oil. The Air Guard Fire Department was called in for its foam trailer, which eventually extinguished the blaze. Fire crews were on scene for about five hours, Fishel said.

Sebastian was able to disconnect his semi from the burning trailer, which was a total loss, along with Weaver's vehicle.

Journal Star, Peoria