A Chicago man threatened a Lincoln Park 7-Eleven clerk with a wine bottle and stole nearly $1,300 worth of merchandise during a robbery this week, prosecutors said.
The hold-up is the latest in a year that’s seeing a record number of convenience store robberies as criminals target readily-available tobacco and liquor supplies.
At 12:10 a.m. Monday, a man entered the store at 2619 North Clark, walked behind the counter, and ordered a clerk to open the cash register as he wielded a wine bottle as a weapon. He took $149 cash and began throwing boxes of cigarettes and lighters into a plastic bag.
A customer who walked into the store as the robbery unfolded realized what was happening and called 911.
The robber left the store, then returned two more times to steal more cigarettes and bottles of wine before police arrived.
Working from a description that the clerk and witness provided, police arrested 57-year-old Donald Rudolph a few minutes later outside a nearby post office. Prosecutors said he was standing near three bottles of the store’s wine. Cops also recovered 75 packs of cigarettes, 15 lighters, and cash.
The clerk identified a fourth wine bottle as the one Rudolph threatened him with during the hold-up, prosecutors said. The entire incident was recorded by multiple store surveillance cameras.
Rudolph, free on bail while awaiting trial for assault, is now charged with felony robbery. Prosecutors said he has multiple felony convictions in his past, including robbery.
Judge John Lyke set his bail at $35,000. Rudolph must post $3,500 to get out of jail before trial.
CWBChicago reported last week that convenience store robberies are up 100% in the city through September 1 when compared to the same time in 2019. This year is on-pace to be the worst for convenience store hold-ups in at least 20 years as offenders target the retailers’ valuable tobacco and liquor inventories.
In the Town Hall police district, where Monday’s robbery unfolded, more than 1 out of 10 robberies recorded this year has been at a convenience store, city data shows.