A man who has been sent to prison repeatedly for robbing retail shops in Lakeview and Lincoln Park is being held without bail after prosecutors charged him with the armed robberies of two stores this month — one in Lakeview, and the other in Lincoln Park.
Raymond Benfield, 44, was released from prison on July 10 after serving half of a three-year sentence that he received for robbing the Walgreens at 3201 North Broadway of two bottles of liquor and swinging a bottle at a manager who tried to stop him. That robbery took place five days after Bensfield was released from prison for robbing two other stores. More on that in a minute.
Now, prosecutors say he robbed two stores in the course of three days this month.
On Sept. 19, Bensfield allegedly wielded a knife and robbed a retailer on the 2700 block of North Clark around 9:45 a.m., according to a police spokesperson. Then, at 11:37 a.m. on Sept. 22, Bensfield allegedly threatened to shoot an employee who tried to stop him from stealing a case of beer at Walgreens, 3046 North Halsted. No gun was displayed.
Police arrested Bensfield the next day when they recognized him on the 900 block of West Addison.
Bensfield is being held without bail, charged with aggravated robbery indicating the presence of a firearm and armed robbery with a dangerous weapon,
In late July, less than three weeks after he was released from prison, Bensfield was charged with being part of a group that stole merchandise from the Jewel-Osco at 3531 North Broadway. One member of the group allegedly threatened staff members with a knife.
Previously, Bensfield was sentenced to a pair of four-year prison sentences for stealing cigarettes and liquor from a 7-Eleven store on the 2600 block of North Clark while claiming to have a gun. The next day, he stole a bottle of Jägermeister from the Walgreens at 2817 North Clark and threatened to shoot an employee.
Before his arrests for those two robberies in 2016, Bensfield collected a series of charges for his alleged behavior in Lakeview and Lincoln Park.
• On November 9, 2015, an employee of the now-defunct Market Place grocery store, 521 W. Diversey, claimed that Bensfield punched him in the face when he confronted Bensfield about allegedly stealing merchandise. Charges were dropped when the victim failed to show up in court, records show.
• On November 3, 2015, an employee of the 7-Eleven at Pine Grove and Diversey detained Bensfield for allegedly trying to shoplift a can of Steel Reserve Spiked Punch and a six pack of Fat Tire Amber Ale. These charges were also dropped because the witness did not appear in court.
• In July 2015, Bensfield received a 6-month sentence after he pleaded guilty to pulling a knife on an employee of Walmart Neighborhood Market, 2844 N. Broadway after the victim confronted Bensfield in an area that is reserved for employees.
He has previously served prison time for arson and armed robbery, according to state records.