Mendota robbery suspect identified, captured


MENDOTA – A Freeport man being pursued by law enforcement authorities in regard to a strong-armed robbery that occurred April 10 in Mendota was arrested on April 17 in Chicago on a LaSalle County warrant. Earl E. Ratliff, 51, of Freeport was identified in connection with a strong-armed robbery at the Road Ranger in Mendota.

The Mendota Police Department began an investigation at 8:44 p.m. April 10 into a female victim being robbed while walking to her car at Road Ranger, 2705 E. 12th St., Mendota. The suspect, who was subsequently identified as Ratliff, forcefully obtained the victim’s purse by punching and kicking her several times.

The suspect got into a black 2011 Chevrolet Equinox as the victim pursued him. The victim was dragged approximately 18 feet as the suspect fled in his vehicle. The victim was treated at the scene for minor injuries by Mendota Fire/EMS.

The Mendota Police Department received assistance from the victim and witnesses who were at the scene to establish a description of the suspect. Several pictures of the suspect were provided by Lucky Street Gaming, which obtained them from surveillance cameras in the gaming room. A press release and Facebook post were disseminated to get assistance from the public in identifying the suspect. A statewide message to law enforcement was also sent out.

On the morning of April 11, the Mendota Police Department received information from the Freeport Police Department and Public Defender’s office on the possible identity of the suspect. With additional assistance from the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Department, detailed information was received of the suspect selling an item belonging to the victim at a pawn store in Freeport. Further investigation work was completed and on April 12, the LaSalle County State’s Attorney issued a warrant for Ratliff for the offense of robbery, a class 2 felony.

A Mendota police officer went to Freeport and with assistance from the Freeport Police Department, went to Ratliff’s residence in an attempt to locate him. Officers were unable to apprehend Ratliff at that time. 

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