That’s #3: Armed robber strikes ANOTHER Old Town business early Monday

Tabaq restaurant, 1245 North Clybourn, was targeted early Monday, according to police. | Google

An armed robbery who has been targeting businesses in the Old Town neighborhood since last Thursday struck again early Monday —- but he left empty-handed this time, police say.

A witness called 911 shortly before 2 a.m. Monday after he saw the robber displaying a handgun inside Tabaq restaurant, 1245 North Clybourn, during a robbery attempt. But the store employee had no money to give the gunman, who grew nervous and fled out the back door, police said. Police were investigating a report from one witness that the gunman fired a shot during the hold-up.

The gunman on Monday was wearing a black du-rag, a red and white checkered shirt, and black pants.

Investigators believe the same man is responsible for at least two other armed robberies in the Old Town area recently:

• Around 2 a.m. on Thursday, a man entered the BP service station at 1647 North La Salle and announced a robbery, police said. The offender displayed a handgun and took cash from the register along with lighters and cigarettes before escaping on foot, the store manager said.

• Then, a daring armed robbery of the Sarpino’s restaurant at 158 West Division was reported around 11:50 p.m. on Saturday. The pizza shop is one of the chain’s busiest locations, and a police officer on the scene said they had a hard time collecting fingerprints because customers kept coming in and demanding service even as the robbery was unfolding.

The gunman fled Sarpino’s with cash and jumped on a yellow mountain bike that was later found at the North-Clybourn Red Line station, according to a CPD source.

A community alert issued by detectives early Monday and then re-issued after the Tabaq hold-up, said that the robber entered the businesses and struck up a conversation before producing a handgun and announcing the robberies.

The suspect is a black male between 40- and 50-years-old with a dark complexion who stands 5’10” to 6’1” tall and weighs about 160 pounds, the alert said.

Witnesses at the BP station said he was wearing a green jacket, dark pants, and had short hair. Employees at Sarpino’s said the man was wearing a black winter cap, black shirt, and blue jeans.

Anyone with information about the suspect may contact Area Central detectives at 312-747-8380 regarding pattern P19-1-161BA.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is