Local man reflects on Espresso Royale robbery

Police are still on the lookout for two suspects regarding the aggravated robbery that occurred in front of the Espresso Royale, 602 E. Daniel Street, on Monday, Oct. 10.

Local real estate broker, John Kachoyeanos, was enjoying the afternoon off last Monday, when he became the victim of an aggravated burglary.

“Usually in the morning, I take an hour or two to get going. It just so happened that that day I came back — it was a holiday, a bank holiday so I had decided I was just going to relax … and it wasn’t as relaxing as I thought,” Kachoyeanos said.

Kachoyeanos was sitting outside the café when one of the suspects walked by and grabbed his iPad off the table and ran off, headed westbound on Daniel Street. Kachoyeanos immediately rose to his feet in response, as the other suspect walked by displaying the concealed weapon tucked in his waistband.

“I was pretty in depth with my phone at the time, texting someone, so I was focused on what I was doing. I guess it kind of taught me a lesson in being more aware,” Kachoyeanos said.

Kachoyeanos has been a Champaign resident since his freshman year studying engineering at the University in 1980. Going into real estate in 1987, he eventually developed a routine that brought him to the Espresso Royale every day as a loyal customer.

“I used this time for planning and to get myself organized before I went (into work) and led the team. Much has changed over the ten years, but I’ve kept the discipline,” Kachoyeanos said.

Kachoyeanos said that in his ten years, this is the first time he had ever witnessed a crime so brazen.

“I wasn’t really scared. I mean, it made me hesitate but I wasn’t scared though. It wasn’t really fear. It was more just surprise — surprise would be the number one thing that occurred to me. And as I sat back down I was like ‘Okay, that was kind of an interesting afternoon,’” Kachoyeanos said.

University police put out two videos in an effort to identify the suspect. Lieutenant Roy Acree of the University of Illinois Police Department, or UIPD, said the system of cameras they have installed around campus have been very helpful in past cases.

“When there is something we would like to find, we are able to go back in time and download it to our computers,” Acree said.

The University Police are checking through previous footage in other buildings in hopes of finding the suspect.

Kachoyeanos said his first reaction was concern for a female student who had just parked her bike in the path of the armed suspect. After the suspects walked away, Kachoyeanos said he tried making a 911 call. However, his call wouldn’t go through.

“So, I decided to get in the car and look for a police officer and I found an officer around the post office on Third and Green (streets). They were very helpful and if anything, the police really need to be applauded because they got on it right away and it went really well from there,” Kachoyeanos said.

A man who had been across the street at the time of the incident had also been instrumental in helping police in the search for the suspects, Kachoyeanos said. The man had run after the unarmed suspect, on the other side of Daniel Street and got a better glimpse of both the suspects.

“It was kind of a team effort. Everyone pitched in and I think the main thing is that we take this and not be afraid,” Kachoyeanos said.

Lauren Gramly, general manager of Espresso Royale, said employees and customers in the café were not aware of the crime when it occurred.

“I believe they knew something was going on outside after the police showed up, but no one actually saw what had happened. They didn’t know what had happened until they saw the video as well,” Gramly said. “I’m under the impression that no one in the café had known what had happened at the time.”

Despite all the commotion, Gramly said still seeing Kachoyeanos around the café is a gratifying sight.

“He came back the next day, was sitting outside, and was kind of going on with his normal routine,” Gramly said. “I was happy to see that it wasn’t going to stop him from coming here because he loved coming here. He wasn’t going to be afraid, basically. And that’s heartwarming.”

Kachoyeanos was notified that his iPad was found at a local business by Wednesday morning.

“Everyone’s got a story and I don’t know what these guys’ story was. For whatever reason, they probably didn’t make a great decision,” Kachoyeanos said. “I don’t have any ill-will towards anyone. I’m just glad it’s all taken care of and we can move forward from here.”