A DePaul University freshman on Thursday was charged with felony armed robbery in connection with a hold-up that unfolded this summer near the school’s art museum in Lincoln Park.
Abraham Kidanemariam, 18, had been offered “almost a full ride to Loyola,” but he decided to take a scholarship to DePaul because he preferred its computer programming course, Assistant Public Defender Michael Grady said. “He’s on a better path at 18 than the majority of the people we see come through this court.”
“I don’t know if he’s on a better path or not,” Judge Charles Beach replied after hearing the state’s allegations against Kidanemariam. “He’s certainly had more opportunities than just about anybody else we’ve seen come through here today, and yet he seems to be wasting them.”
Around 2:48 p.m. on July 26, three offenders surrounded and robbed a bicyclist on a sidewalk that runs between DePaul’s art museum and the Fullerton Red Line station. The robbers were Kidanemariam, a juvenile who’s also been charged, and another man who remains at large, according to prosecutors.
The unidentified man demanded all of the victim’s property and repeatedly lifted his shirt to display a handgun in his waistband, the state said. Video shows the victim trying to walk away after handing Kidanemariam some marijuana, prosecutors said. But the offenders blocked the man’s path.
According to prosecutors, the juvenile took the victim’s bike, Kidanemariam reached into the man’s pants pocket to take his iPhone, and the unidentified offender took the victim’s earbuds.
The robbers then fled on a Red Line train from the Fullerton station.
Prosecutors said the victim recognized Kidanemariam because he had seen him before while doing laundry at the victim’s apartment complex.
Police reportedly used surveillance video from DePaul and the CTA to track down Kidanemariam and the juvenile. The victim identified them in photo line-ups last month and Kidanemariam turned himself in to police this week.
He admitted to going into the man’s pockets and taking the phone, according to the state, but he said he did not know the other offender was armed.
Kidanemariam was on bail for two separate cases at the time of the robbery.
On June 25, he was arrested in Uptown and charged with criminal trespass to vehicles. He left the police station later the same day on a recognizance bond.
Three days later, he was arrested in Uptown again after police allegedly found him with a look-alike handgun. He was again released from the police station the same day on a recognizance bond. The DePaul robbery unfolded about a month later.
Kidanemariam has no juvenile record.
Judge Beach noted that Kidanemariam’s family nodded their heads in the courtroom when Grady, the defense attorney, said he may take a break from school to enlist in the Marine Corps.
The robbery allegations are “an aberration to the character and person that he is,” Grady said.
Prosecutors charged Kidanemariam with felony armed robbery with a firearm. Beach said he can get out of jail to await trial by posting a $2,000 deposit bond and going on electronic monitoring. Kidanemariam will need to post an additional $500 for violating the terms of his previous bail bonds, Beach ruled.