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Two Illinois men accused of robbing employees at a Mount Pleasant gas station Tuesday led authorities on a manhunt were charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday.

George E. Lark, 19, Champaign, Ill., was charged with felony counts of armed robbery and possession of a firearm by an adjudicated delinquent. Dezerric F. Pitts, 18, Kankakee, Ill., was charged with felony counts of armed robbery and attempting to flee/elude an officer. The two were apprehended Wednesday and are being held in the Racine County Jail on a $250,000 cash bond.

The armed robbery charge carries a fine of $100,000 and 40 years in prison. Lark faces an additional fine of $25,000 and 10 years in prison on the firearm charge. Pitts faces an additional fine of $10,000 and three years, six months in prison on the fleeing/eluding charge.

According to the criminal complaint:
Officers with the Mount Pleasant Police Department responded to the Wilkomm’s Mobil, 6840 Washington Ave., where they found victims/employees hiding behind coolers. One of the employees reported that a red truck pulled up in front of the main door, “laid heavily” on the brakes and two males exited.

Pitts approached an employee. Wearing a white surgical mask, a gray/black hooded coat, black pants, and red shoes, he pulled himself up on the counter, knocked over a display case and pointed a black handgun at the employee. The defendant then shouted: “Give me all your money, open the safe,” a demand he repeated even though the employee stated he did not have the safe’s combination.

The employee gave Pitts all of the money in the register. The defendant also took the employee’s cell phone. While that was happening, Lark, who also had on a white surgical mask, walked around the back side of the register armed with a handgun. The other employee stated she had been able to hide her phone so the defendant didn’t steal it.

Lark and Pitts exited the store with $275 in cash and the phone, valued at $306. Surveillance video matched the victims’ statements.

Officers located a truck that matched the description. Police learned that it was reported stolen out of Illinois. Traveling into Kenosha County at speeds in excess of 100 mph, officers attempted to stop it using spike strips in the area of Wilmot Road in Kenosha County. But the two suspects fled on foot into a wooded area.

Lark was taken into custody Wednesday after he attempted to use the phone at a business near where the stolen truck had crashed. Pitts was located riding a bicycle on I-94 and was arrested. Pitts, who has an active warrant in Kankakee County (Ill.) for attempted homicide and armed robbery, tried to gain entrance into a residence. But the homeowner shot him in the leg.

When he was arrested, he was wearing a jacket that matched the clothing worn at the time of the robbery.

Lark admitted his involvement. He told police, “the cameras won’t lie,” and that he and Pitts had dropped off a “friend” in Racine. They then went to the gas station. He denied knowing the truck was stolen.

Officers recovered a .44 revolver from the passenger side of the truck. Lark has several previous felony convictions, which would prohibit him from owning or possessing a firearm.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.