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Monday, February 14th, 2011

Man faces several charges for Motor Inn robbery

By Margie Wuebker
A former Celina-area man faces numerous charges stemming from a Nov. 15 armed robbery at the Motor Inn Truck Stop near Mendon.
Stevie D. Morgan, 30, a Van Wert County resident who formerly resided at 8338 U.S. 33, was indicted Thursday by a Mercer County grand jury on two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of robbery and one count of theft. The offenses range from first-degree felonies to a first-degree misdemeanor.
Morgan already is incarcerated at the Mercer County Adult Detention Center for probation violations in another theft case.
He was booked into the jail on Dec. 17 after he failed to report for a 120-day sentence imposed earlier by Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Ingraham. That case involved the alleged June 29 theft of tools valued at more than $500 from Menard's in Celina.
In another unrelated case, Morgan also was indicted on two counts of burglary and one count of theft, second- to fifth-degree felonies, for a Dec. 11 incident when he allegedly took more than $500 from the home of a relative.
Law enforcement connected Morgan to the robbery at the Motor Inn after receiving tips from local residents who saw the surveillance video and pictures displayed through the media.
Mercer County Sheriff's Department Detective Chris Hamberg said the break in the armed robbery investigation came Jan. 3 when the Celina Fire Department dive team recovered items having "evidentiary value" from the St. Marys River off Palmer Road. The discovery reportedly corroborated tips the office had received.
On Nov. 14, deputies and Rockford Police officers responded to the Motor Inn after receiving a 911 call from store personnel at 12:41 a.m.
The gunman, described as being approximately 6 feet tall and weighing 250 to 280 pounds, entered the business and immediately went to the cash register, laid a white plastic bag on the counter and demanded money. The man reportedly held a handgun but did not point the weapon at the male clerk or a woman cleaning in the convenience market at the time.
With less than $500 in hand, the man left from a rear door and ran north along the building before heading west away from the property. Several K-9 units brought to the scene were unable to pick up his trail.
The perpetrator, wearing dark sweatpants and a pullover-type jacket with one white sleeve and the letters "SJC," also had a blue and white bandana, sunglasses and a winter "neck-gator" as part of his disguise.
A truck driver leaving the business about the same time reportedly told authorities he saw a white minivan in the vicinity of the business and authorities determined Morgan had access to that kind of vehicle.
Authorities served Morgan with court paperwork late Friday morning in his cell.
"Our website ( is proving to be a valuable tool in criminal investigations," Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said. "There is an area where people can provide us with tips while remaining anonymous. We follow up on the tips and this time they led to an arrest."
Additional online story on this date
CELINA - Family members escaped their burning Mud Pike home without injury Saturday morning. The house is a complete loss.
Celina Fire Department, [More]
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