UPDATE: Final Suspect Sentenced for Attempted Murder and Attempted Robbery

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The final suspect arrested for stabbing a man during a string of violent armed robberies in Rockford, is now heading to prison.

Victor Petty, 22, pleaded guilty on Monday to Attempted First Degree Murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

UPDATE: A man police say robbed and stabbed the owner of a business in March of 2013 has pleaded guilty.

29-year-old Jerome Pruitt has pleaded guilty to Attempted First Degree Murder and Attempted Armed Robbery. He was sentenced to 15 years for the attempted murder charge and 10 years for the attempted armed robbery charge. The sentences will be served concurrently.

The charges stem from two separate armed robberies that happened on Broadway in Rockford in March 2013. Police say on March 14th, 2013 Pruitt and another man robbed and stabbed the owner of Reingold Computer Exchange. The next day, a woman working at the post office reported Pruitt and another man pulled out a knife and demanded money from her.

Pruitt faced up to 30 years for attempted murder and up to 15 years years for the attempted armed robbery charge. Pruitt was eligible for an extended term of 4-30 years in prison because he has a prior felony conviction.

UPDATE: Some perhaps relieving news for local business owners. Officers say they have two men in custody who they believe are responsible for robbing and stabbing an employee at a Broadway computer store, one of three robberies on the street this week.

28-year-old Jerome Pruitt and 31-year-old Victor Petty, who are both on parole for separate crimes, are now in the Winnebago County Jail.

Police believe the two may be linked to a series of robberies this week including the post office, a computer store, and the Happy Shop convenience store where an employee was beaten.

Police are still investigating.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – There have been five violent robberies in Rockford in just 24 hours, the latest one happening this morning at a post office on Broadway Street, and the third in the midtown district this week.

Yellow police tape has become a common sight this week in the midtown district after three robberies resulting in two stabbings. A scary situation for people who live and work in the area.
“A lot of people don’t feel safe out here, no” said Jasmina Imsirovic.

This morning, two men robbed a post office in the 1100 block of Broadway, less than 24 hours after the owner of a computer shop was stabbed multiple times just a block down the street. On Monday night, the owner of Happy Shop in the 1500 block of Broadway was stabbed and beaten.

Police believe the three are connected but people who have been in this area for years, like Bud Brauer who owns B & H office furniture says the neighborhood is actually pretty safe and is worried these stabbings are giving Broadway Street a bad rap.
“This can happen in any neighborhood and it’s unfortunate it’s happened down here because we’ve worked really hard to try and keep our neighborhood safe and upgraded over what it’s been in the past,” said Bud Brauer.

Ronald Lund’s store, the Thrifty Boutique, has sat at the corner of Broadway and 7th for 35 years and he says they’ve never had any serious problems and what’s happening there could happen anywhere.
“We’ve had a problem with our area being targeted with the news media as being the area where all the crime is, but from what we understand, it’s all over the city.

Police have described the suspects as two black men in their mid 20’s, In today’s robbery they took off before getting any cash.

As to why people in the neighborhood think crime has escalated in the area, most think it’s because they haven’t seen police in the area as much during this winter.

Police say they will be stepping up patrols in the area. Officers will be both on foot and in their cars.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Just before 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 15, 2013 two men entered the United State Post Office in the 1100 block of Broadway and demanded money from the postal service employee working the counter.

The first suspect is described as a black man in his mid 20's, 5'10 of medium build with short black hair, scruffy facial hair and wearing a puffy style black jacket. He was reportedly armed with a knife.

The second suspect is described as a black man in his early to mid 20's with long hair pulled back into a ponytail.

The suspects did not obtain any money and left on foot possibly towards 9th street. This robbery appears to be linked to the two recent robberies on Broadway.

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