|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.