A Carbondale man was sentenced to 21 years in prison Wednesday for robbing a Carbondale gas station at gunpoint last year while wearing a dress and a wig, making off with less than $100 and two packs of cigarettes.
Christopher Harris, 26, was sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections for armed robbery Feb. 17 following an open plea of guilty to the charge in November.
According to State’s Attorney Mike Carr, Harris walked into the Circle K gas station, 315 E. Walnut St., at about 5 a.m. June 18, 2015, wearing a dress and a wig. The defendant then held the gas station attendant at gunpoint and robbed the store of $98 and two packages of cigarettes.
Minutes later, officers with the Carbondale Police Department responded to the scene. As the officers were responding, one officer observed a gold Pontiac driving the wrong way on a one-way street on South Graham Street near the Circle K gas station. The officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, and the driver identified himself as Cortez Harris.
While speaking with Harris, the officer saw the wig in the front passenger floorboard and realized the individual was wearing a dress. The officer then pulled his service weapon and ordered the Harris out of the car. Harris refused and began to reverse the vehicle, dragging the officer across the parking lot. The officer was able to get free from the vehicle, and Harris fled in the vehicle northbound down an alley. The officer was able to get back to his patrol vehicle and pursue him. Harris eventually abandoned his vehicle near 508 S. Logan St. and ran into the woods. Officers then set up a perimeter around the area in an attempt to find him.
After a few hours of searching, the officers located Harris in an abandoned house at 308 E. College St. Harris was found under a pile of debris and had taken off his clothes. The wig, the clothing and a purse containing the money, the cigarettes and a loaded Highpoint 9mm firearm were found near the house.
Harris was hit with a range of criminal charges, but almost all were dropped in exchange for his plea to the charge of armed robbery.