Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Rockford men charged in string of violent crimes

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD — Two men have been indicted by a grand jury after a string of violent crimes that occurred in Rockford and Loves park last month.

Joseph R. McCormick, 26, and Bradley L. Wooten, 22, both of Rockford, are charged with attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, vehicular invasion, aggravated robbery, burglary, aggravated battery and mob actions.

Police say the offenses occurred over a 24-hour period beginning on April 19. That’s when Rockford officers were called to the South Gardner Avenue after receiving a report of an armed robbery. A woman told officers two men in a red pickup pointed a gun at her and demanded money.

A short time later, a red pickup occupied by two men approached a man on a bicycle in the 3400 block of Liberty Drive. Police say the cyclist was forced of the road at gunpoint.

At around 1:45 a.m., police met with a man at a local hospital who said he was in his vehicle at a Loves Park stoplight when a red pickup approached him and a man got out and pointed a gun at him. Police say the man was hit several times in the face with the weapon and robbed.

During the evening of April 20, police investigated an armed robbery in the 4100 block of Harrison Avenue, where a man said he was in his vehicle when two men approached and demanded his money. One of the suspects struck the man in the head several times with a glass bottle. The suspects stole the victim’s wallet, keys and cellphone during the attack, police said.

Rockford and Loves Park Police detectives conducted a follow-up investigation and developed Wooden and McCormick as suspects. Both men are lodged in the Winnebago County Jail. Bail has been set at $2 million.

Wooden and McCormick are scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m., May 30, in Courtroom B of the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center.

Attempt first-degree murder and armed robbery are Class X felonies punishable by six to 30 years in prison. Conspiracy to commit armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, vehicular invasion and aggravated robbery are Class 1 felonies with a maximum prison sentences of 15 years each.

Burglary is a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years 3-7 years. Aggravated battery is Class 3 felony with a sentencing range of two to five years while mob action is a Class 4 offense punishable by one to three years.

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