Homeless pair face multiple charges after crime spree

·2 min read

Two homeless Coldwater people are now residents of the new Branch County Jail after a Friday night crime spree.

Lilyan Blankenship, 20, went into Super Liquor II on West Chicago, selected cigarettes, five vape pens and numerous lottery tickets. When she tried to pay, all cards she offered were denied. She grabbed the $556 bag of merchandise and ran out the door.

Blankenship jumped into a silver 2008 Chevrolet Impala, which fled east on U.S. 12.

Responding Coldwater Police officer Cori Calcaterra began chasing the car at high speeds along Peckham, Jackson, and Clay streets. Calcaterra stopped the pursuit for safety reasons.

The car crashed at Hull Street near Wright. Both Blankenship and the driver, Jason Work, 34, ran from the officer and refused to stop. She lost sight of them in a Wright Street backyard. A K-9 unit could not locate them.

Coldwater Police officers called the car owner. The two stayed Thursday night with her, a friend. She told police Work and Blankenship took her keys off a counter and left with the car. Neither had permission to use it.

Officers contacted associates of the two. One man said Work and Blankenship took his keys at knifepoint on Jan. 3. Neighbor’s surveillance video showed the two unlocking his 2008 Chrysler Sebring and driving away. The car was abandoned at Sauk Trail apartments near where other friends lived.

On Jan. 8, both were found at Arby’s on U.S. 12 and taken into custody. An employee found suspected meth inside the bathroom. Coldwater Police body cams showed Blankenship sitting by the bathroom door clutching something in her hand before ducking inside the bathroom. There was nothing in her fist when arrested.

A field test showed the crystal material was meth. Blankenship was charged with possession, a 10-year felony.

Both are charged with two auto thefts, five-year offenses, and resisting arrest, two-year felonies.

Work is charged with fleeing police in an area where speeds are 35 mph, a five-year crime. Blankenship is charged with the one-year misdemeanor, retail fraud, for the store theft.

Bond for Work was set by Magistrate Val White at $30,000, 10% to be posted for release. For Blankenship’s total bond is $35,000 "to keep other people's property safe."

Both face probable cause hearings on Jan. 20, with preliminary exams on Jan. 26.

Super Liquor II video captured Blankenship before she fled.
Super Liquor II video captured Blankenship before she fled.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Reporter: Homeless pair face multiple charges after crime spree

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