Third juvenile charged in group of teens’ multi-county holiday crime spree

A third juvenile has been charged with a holiday crime spree that landed four other teens in jail earlier in the week, according to investigators.

The latest arrest, says law enforcement, has been connected to a series of incidents, including the Christmas Eve armed robbery of the Casey’s General Store in Sandoval.

Police believe 18-year-old Chad Ladisky, of Belleville, and 18-year-old Ethan Miller, of Carlyle, led a band of teens — including the latest one arrested — on a string of crimes between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day that included a shooting, two armed robberies, a pair of auto thefts and a large number of auto burglaries.

The crimes took place across four counties, Clinton, Madison, Marion and St. Clair and were broken up when a burned-out gold Buick tied them together.

According to reports, the Buick was used in a string of auto burglaries and an attempt to steal a car on Jan. 2 in Millstadt.

The car was registered to Ladisky’s aunt who allowed him to use the car although she retained ownership.

Ladisky, along with a juvenile, has been charged, so far, in Clinton County with possession of a stolen vehicle.

Police say a Taser believed to be used in the armed robbery in Sandoval was found in the Buick, along with a Kevlar police vest believed to be stolen in Troy from a law enforcement officer’s car.

Ladisky and a second juvenile have been charged with two counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle by the Clinton County State’s Attorney’s office, in relation to incidents in St. Rose.

Reports indicate that a few days after the car was found, one of the juvenile suspects, who is 17, led investigators to where the 9 mm handgun used in the armed robbery in Sandoval as well as an armed robbery and shooting New Year’s Day at the Flatbranch Saloon near Carlyle, was located.

According to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, the owner of the Flatbranch was shot in the chest after a confrontation with the teens.

With the latest juvenile suspect being charged in Marion County, it is expected that Ladisky and Miller will soon also be charged in Marion County in relation to the Christmas Eve armed robbery at the Casey’s in Sandoval.

They could also be facing additional charges in St. Clair County.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said he is also planning to file charges soon against the members of the group.

It’s believed they are responsible for burglarizing cars in Millstadt, Troy, Collinsville and other places, stealing a police officer’s Kevlar vest, a handgun and other items.

While detectives believe all the main players of the group are now in custody, one other person is being investigated for links to the group.

The 17-year-old male who led police to the gun is believed to be the person who shot the owner of the Flatbranch Saloon when the robbers were confronted during the attempted armed robbery there in the early morning hours of Jan. 1.

Miller and one juvenile have been charged in Clinton County with one count of armed robbery and three counts of aggravated battery by Clinton County in connection with the incident at the Flatbranch Saloon.

The teens started off with the auto burglaries as a way to make some easy money, but reportedly told investigators they thought the auto burglaries were getting too risky, so they decided to start committing armed robberies.