COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A 51-year-old man, apparently confined to a wheelchair, is accused of stealing Tide from a Near West Side Walgreens and brandishing a 12-inch butcher knife when an employee tried to make him return it.
Andre Celestine could face life in prison if convicted of what Cook County prosecutors said is his third armed robbery.
Celestine, of the 2300 block of West Warren Boulevard, put the bottle of Tide laundry detergent under his seat in the wheelchair Sunday night and then left the store at 2340 W. Madison St., Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.
When a 32-year-old Walgreens employee followed him out and ordered him to return the detergent, Celestine pulled out the knife, Scaduto said.
A Walgreens worker told investigators that Celestine had been to the store almost every day for the last four months.
Unable or unwilling to make it into the courtroom, Celestine listened to the proceedings of his case Tuesday from the Cook County Courthouse lockup, where inmates wait to be called before a judge in bond court.
A public defender representing Celestine said he suffers from seizures.
Cook County Judge James Brown ordered Celestine held on $500,000 bond.
Celestine served a 10-year sentence and a seven-year sentence in state prison for two previous armed robbery convictions. He was just released from jail in June after pleading guilty in an attempted burglary case, according to court records.
Prosecutors said Celestine could face a mandatory life sentence if he is convicted for armed robbery again.