16-time convicted felon charged with Old Town home invasion

Roosevelt Allen | CPD

A 16-time convicted felon who’s on parole for three burglaries and who once faced attempted murder charges for shooting at Chicago police officers is now charged with committing an armed home invasion in Old Town.

Roosevelt “Robert” Allen, 52, was ordered held without bail by Judge David Navarro during a bond hearing Thursday.

“You have demonstrated yourself to be a clear and continuing danger to the safety of every member of the community,” Navarro told Allen, who first went to prison during the Reagan Administration.

Allen, who was released early from prison in July after serving half of three concurrent 12-year sentences for burglary, is accused of breaking into a high-rise apartment in the 1300 block of North Wells around 6:40 a.m. Wednesday, January 20.

Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said surveillance video shows Allen trying to pry open the apartment building’s front door for nearly an hour before a female resident walked out, allowing him to enter.

Minutes later, a 25-year-old man woke up and saw Allen next to him, rummaging through a desk, Scaduto said.

When the victim asked what was going on, Allen identified himself as “Lewis” and walked into the living room, according to a CPD report.

The victim, unclear about what was happening, followed him there until Allen pulled out a pocket knife, extended it toward him, and began walking slowly in his direction, according to Scaduto.

The victim was so scared, he ran from his apartment and, rather than risk waiting for an elevator, scurried down fourteen flights of stairs to the lobby. There, he told a front desk attendant about what happened.

Police drove the victim around the neighborhood while he tracked his stolen phone. They found Allen nearby on the 200 block of West Scott, and the victim immediately recognized him as the intruder.

Scaduto said Allen was carrying the victim’s phone and Ventra card. A duffle bag belonging to the victim’s roommate, who slept through the home invasion, was found next to Allen, she said. Police recovered another phone and earbuds that were allegedly stolen from the first victim’s desk, as well as a knife.

Allen was wearing the same jacket with a distinctive patch that the intruder is seen wearing on the building’s surveillance video, Scaduto continued.

Neither victim knows Allen, but Scaduto later said Allen previously went to prison for burglarizing one of the home invasion victims’ residences in 2014.

She told Judge Navarro that Allen had been sentenced to prison sixteen times: ten times for burglaries, four times for theft-related cases, and one time for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

But the aggravated assault case was originally charged as attempted murder after Allen shot at police officers who tried to intervene as he and others fired guns at each other at a Cabrini-Green housing complex in 1989, she said.

According to state records, he eventually received a sentence of just one year for aggravated assault in the case.

He is currently on parole for three separate burglaries that he committed in July 2014, Scaduto said, adding that two of those cases “involved the exact same victim” as Wednesday’s home invasion.

During the July 2014 burglaries, Allen was on parole for a series of burglaries committed in 2006. During those break-ins, he took $20,000 worth of high-end champagne from a bar on Hubbard Street in River North, Scaduto reported. He was also convicted of returning to the same bar days later to steal another $5,600 worth of liquor.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged Allen with Class X felony home invasion and residential burglary. Judge Navarro ordered him held without bail. Allen will also be held without bail on an Illinois Department of Corrections hold while the state considers his parole revocation.

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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 news@cwbchicago.com