An Urbana resident was recognized for his actions that helped lead to a criminal conviction this week.
During a recent Urbana city council meeting, the Urbana Police Division recognized Larry Lawson III, presenting him with the Urbana Police Division’s Civilian Service Award.
Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell said the award was to recognize Lawson for helping provide police with exceptional assistance in apprehending a criminal.
The incident Lawson assisted police in was a May 2 case involving Brian G. Cantrell, a registered sex offender, who was planning to offend again with a purported to be 16-year-old Urbana male. Lawson had become aware of unwarranted and sexually solicitous telephone texts messages from the offender mistakenly sent to a co-worker, upsetting the co-worker.
Lawson got involved and quickly notified Urbana police of the nature of the text messages and the fact that they were supposedly being sent to a 16-year-old male.
Several officers worked on the case starting at 3:52 p.m. that day including Sgt. Josh Jacobs and officers Chris Snyder, Mike Hughes, Cade Hunt and Casey Evans.
“Because of his decision to get involved and notify police quickly, we were able to conduct a covert sting operation using an undercover police officer, who met with the offender around 4:49 p.m. on that date with the premise of participating in illegal sexual activity with the offender,” Lingrell said. “Instead of finding a 16-year-old waiting to meet the offender, the offender met an undercover Urbana police officer as uniformed officers moved in and arrested him.”
Cantrell was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday.
Officers involved with the case were present as Lingrell presented a plaque to Lawson as recognition of his help. In his remarks, Lingrell told those in attendance that the actions taken by Lawson were a great example of what the motto “see something – say something” truly means.
In closing, Lingrell told Lawson that not only did he provide exceptional help to the police division, but he also helped the entire Urbana community in helping to keep them safe.