Probation for foiled Pekin robber

Michael Smothers/ Pekin Daily Times

A Pekin hair stylist put Mark Lawson behind bars by struggling with and chasing him down after he entered her salon and stole her wallet last October.

But in part because she didn’t respond to a prosecutor’s request to further discuss the case, Lawson, 44, was released from custody on probation Friday.

A Tazewell County judge “reluctantly” accepted the plea agreement that the prosecutor said stemmed from the victim’s failure to contact her office.

Lawson, of Pekin, was sentenced to two years probation and given credit for 67 days spent in custody since his arrest.

He pleaded guilty in two unrelated cases,to robbery and aggravated battery and to forgery for cashing a $200 check on his grandmother’s bank account.

Lawson found that he couldn’t fool his robbery victim by sticking a finger from inside his sweatshirt pocket to mimic a handgun barrel after walking into the Vintage Beauty Lounge at 1506 Sheridan Road shortly before it closed for the day on Oct. 24.

He announced, “This is a robbery.” The 31-year-old stylist, a foot shorter than Lawson, replied, “No,” then grabbed his arm and with a leg whip sent him to the floor. He rose, grabbed her wallet from her purse and tried to flee, dragging the woman as she held onto his leg, a prosecutor’s court affidavit stated.

He broke free and ran down the street, only to find the woman chasing him as she called 911 on her cellphone. Lawson dropped the wallet and ran on, but was caught by police a short distance away.

In the forgery case, Lawson pleaded guilty to withdrawing $200 from his grandmother’s account at Busey Bank in Pekin on Aug. 24. It was one of 33 checks on which he allegedly forged her name to withdraw funds, his prosecutor said.

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