DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Wheaton Chief of Police William Murphy announced today that a Carol Stream man has been arrested and charged with robbing a Walgreens drug store with a hatchet last weekend. Jason Zell, 32, (d.o.b. 4/1/1988) of the 500 block of Gunderson Drive appeared at a bond hearing this morning where Judge Alex McGimpsey set bond at $300,000 with 10% to apply. Zell has been charged with one count of Armed Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, a Class X Felony.
32 years old
On Jan. 16, 2021, at approximately 8:50 p.m., officers with the Wheaton Police Department were dispatched for a call of an armed robbery at the Walgreens drug store located at 1601 North Main Street. Upon their arrival, Wheaton police officers initiated an investigation with assistance from the Villa Park K-9 Unit. It is alleged that Zell entered the Walgreens, selected an item to purchase and approached the clerk who was working at the front cash register. It is alleged that when the clerk opened the register to complete the sale, Zell jumped on top of the counter, removed a silver bladed hatchet from his backside, placed the hatchet on the counter, reached around the plastic barrier and stole cash from the cash register. It is further alleged that Zell then knocked down the plastic divider, grabbed his hatchet and exited the store through the main entrance. Two days later at approximately 10 p.m., Zell flagged down a Wheaton police officer on patrol and turned himself in.
“I would like to thank the Wheaton Police Department for their work on this case as well as the Villa Park Police Department for their assistance,” Berlin said. “The allegation against Mr. Zell, that he brandished a hatchet at the store clerk who was just trying to make an honest living, and stole hundreds of dollars will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Nicole Wilkes-English and Patrick Miner for their efforts on this case as well.”
"Our officers and detectives did outstanding work," Murphy said. “State's Attorney Bob Berlin's office appropriately charged Mr. Zell with great consideration for the victim and the safety of our community."
Zell’s next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 11, 2021 for arraignment in front of Judge John Kinsella.
Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.