Man charged with 2 Red Line robberies — 3 months after getting “affordable bail” in another train robbery

Michael Sturdivant | CPD

Just three months ago, prosecutors charged Michael Sturdivant with robbery for allegedly beating and robbing a passenger who fell asleep on the Orange Line downtown. Judge Charles Beach allowed him to get out of jail by posting $500 bond.

Sturdivant, 26, was in bond court again Monday, charged with robbing two more passengers on CTA trains last week. Both of the robberies, as well as the one he’s accused of committing last autumn, were captured on CTA surveillance video, prosecutors say.

On January 15, Sturdivant and two others boarded a Red Line and the two accomplices began going through the coat and pants pockets of a man who was sleeping on the train, prosecutors said Monday.

One of the accomplices kicked the victim in the chest when he woke up. But the victim stood up, fought back, and tried to regain control of his wallet. That’s when Sturdivant joined in and punched the man several times, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Franka D’Antignac.

Sturdivant later told police he helped fight the victim because he “didn’t want to look like a p*ssy,” she said.

The victim got off the train at Cermak and notified police. Detectives distributed photos of the robbers from CTA surveillance footage and one of the cops who arrested Sturdivant for last fall’s robbery recognized him, D’Antignac said. The victim also identified Sturdivant in a photo line-up on January 16.

That same day, Sturdivant and the other two offenders were wearing the same clothing when they robbed another man on the Red Line platform at 63rd Street, according to D’Antignac.

The two accomplices demanded the victim’s phone and wallet, but he offered his bookbag instead. Both of the alleged accomplices then attacked the man and took his wallet out of his pants pocket. Sturdivant admitted to “putting his hands on” the victim because he was becoming aggressive, D’Antignac said.

D’Antignac said all three robbers chased the victim as he ran to the ticket booth for help. An ambulance took the man to St. Bernard Hospital for treatment of bruises to his head and face.

The second victim was unable to identify the offenders in a photo array, D’Antignac said.

Police arrested Sturdivant on Saturday. D’Antignac said he identified himself in CTA images from both attacks and admitted to participating in both robberies.

Sturdivant’s public defender, Jessica Hunter, said he “vehemently denies the allegations against him.”

Judge Mary Marubio ordered Sturdivant held without bail for violating the terms of bond in his pending robbery case. Then, she set bail in the new cases at $250,000.

“I’m setting bail in a very high amount,” Marubio told Sturdivant, “and I’m doing it to detain you.”

In October, prosecutors said Sturdivant and three juveniles battered and robbed a man who fell asleep on the Orange Line near the Quincy station.

After asking the victim for his money, one of the juveniles punched the victim in the face, and the group went through his pockets to take his phone and wallet, prosecutors said.

After being taken into custody a few weeks later, Sturdivant allegedly made a statement on video in which he admitted to holding the victim’s wallet, saying, “I did what I did, and I got caught.”

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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