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Authorities make arrest at Merrillville Aldi

A car is towed away Monday from the Merrillville Aldi store on U.S. 30. Merrillville police and other agencies assisted FBI agents in an arrest at the location.

HAMMOND — Two men arrested in what the FBI called a pre-emptive strike to stop an armored car robbery appeared Monday in U.S. District Court.

Reilly Jackson Jr., 23, of Griffith and Delvin Perkins, 23, of South Holland wore orange jumpsuits, belly chains and leg irons. More than a half dozen family members and friends appeared in court as well.

Magistrate Judge Joshua P. Kolar delayed their arraignment on robbery and firearms charges while the defendants and their families arrange to hire private defense attorneys.

Kolar ordered Jackson and Perkins to remain in federal detention until at least Wednesday, the earliest they could reappear for a pre-trial hearing.

They have been in custody since FBI agents and Merrillville police stopped them March 18 outside an Aldi grocery at 10 E. U.S. 30 in Merrillville on suspicion they were about to rob a Brinks armored truck.

An FBI surveillance team had been following them earlier that day because they were suspects in a $500,000 heist of a Thillens Cagistics armored truck July 25, 2018 in Blue Island, Illinois.

The agents decided to confront the pair after they began following a Brinks armored truck making multiple stops to collect money from local banks and businesses.

The government alleges the FBI believed a robbery was imminent. The two men didn’t leave their vehicle to do business at any of the locations the armored truck stopped, they wore dark clothing and the Jeep Cherokee Jackson was driving had a temporary license plate folded over to obscure its number.

The agents requested Merrillville police assist in making the stop, which took place at 1:55 p.m. on U.S. 30 near Broadway in Merrillville.

Officers allege they found two semi-automatic weapons on the passenger side floor where Perkins was sitting.

The U.S. Attorney’s office alleges the guns belonged to Perkins, who has a prior conviction for burglary in Illinois. 

The government alleges Jackson told authorities after his arrest the two men agreed earlier that day to rob an armored vehicle and drove around until they spotted the Brinks truck on U.S. 30 near the Southlake Mall.

The government states in court papers Perkins denied any involvement in a robbery or knowledge there were guns in the car.

The government is seeking to detain the pair until their trial on grounds they are flight risks and a danger to the public. The magistrate could hold hearings later this week on that request.

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