(KMOV) -- Two men are charged in connection with an armed robbery at two Metro-East gas stations.
Tariq El-Amin, 19, and Dion Rice, 21, both from East St. Louis, were charged with two counts of Armed Robbery.
One of the robberies happened around 12:15 a.m. on Monday at the ZX Gas Station in the 8400 block of Collinsville Road in Collinsville, Illinois.
Authorities say a man came into the store approximately 30 minutes before the robbery and left without buying anything. The man then reportedly came back to the store with pantyhose over his face holding a revolver.
Police say the man pointed the gun at the attendant and demanded money. The clerk complied.
According to investigators, the man then ran out of the store and entered the passenger side of a gold-colored, four-door vehicle. The vehicle fled eastbound on Collinsville Road.
Another robbery happened around 1 a.m. Sunday at the Moto-Mart Convenience Store at 731 North Bluff Road in Collinsville, Illinois. Investigators linked the two robberies together based on the description of the suspect, the vehicle used, and surveillance photos.
Authorities said after the information was released to the public by the media, El-Amin went to the Collinsville Police Department to "clear" his name. El-Amin wanted investigators to know that it was him depicted in the picture in the ZX Gas Station approximately 30 minutes before the ZX Gas Station robbery, but denied being the person involved in the robbery.
Investigators questioned El-Amin and developed evidence against him to hold him for the robberies. Evidence was also obtained against Rice. It was determined the vehicle used in the robberies belongs to Rice, a 1997 Honda Accord. The vehicle was being driven by Rice during the robberies.
The weapon used in the robberies was recovered by investigators.
Both men were held in the Madison County Jail pending formal charges. Bond was set at $200,000 on each.