Woman charged in 7-Eleven robbery spree; Male suspect remains at large

Jessica Short (right) and surveillance images of the female suspect. | Provided; CPD

A two-person robbery team scored nearly $10,000 worth of tobacco products, alcohol, and cash as they robbed four convenience stores in under an hour Thursday morning, prosecutors said Saturday. CWB posted images and video of the suspects Thursday night.

The one-hour crime spree is part of a larger pattern involving 7-Eleven store robberies in the Loop, West Loop, River North, and Avondale.

On Thursday evening, a Ford Expedition that detectives linked to the crime spree was spotted in traffic by police officers near Halsted and Monroe. Cops stopped the vehicle and arrested its driver, 21-year-old Jessica Short.

Short is now charged with two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of felony robbery in connection with Thursday’s hold-ups. Her alleged co-offender remained at large on Saturday, but prosecutors said Short identified him for detectives.

Around 7:50 a.m., a man and woman entered the 7-Eleven at 343 North LaSalle. As the woman, allegedly Short, talk to the clerk about pizza options, a man went behind the counter and filled a large bag with $2,300 worth of cigarettes, cigars, and liquor, prosecutors said.

A surveillance image of the male suspect. | Provided

About 20 minutes later, the same duo allegedly entered the 7-Eleven at 567 West Lake. The man forced his way behind the register, directed the employee into a back room, and ordered the worker not to push the alarm. He then collected $564 worth of cigarettes that he placed into a grocery bag.

According to prosecutors, the duo popped up again at 8:30 a.m. in Avondale, where they targeted two stores in about 15 minutes.

At the 3600 West Belmont location, the man pushed a clerk and claimed to have a firearm when the employee tried to stop him from taking $2,800 worth of cigarettes and alcohol from behind the counter. Short is accused of taking a money bag containing cash, too.

Then, at 3005 North Pulaski, the male offender took $3,800 worth of cigarettes and alcohol as Short brandished a knife, prosecutors said. Short’s defense attorney, Courtney Smallwood, said Short denies having a weapon.

When police stopped Short in traffic Thursday, she reversed the SUV into a CPD squad car, prosecutors said, but she did not get away. She has never received a driver’s license, according to prosecutors.

Smallwood said Short moved to Chicago when she became involved with the Department of Children and Family Services at age 13. She never attended high school, Smallwood said.

Judge Susana Ortiz set Short’s bail at $50,000 and ordered her to go onto electronic monitoring if she can post a 10% deposit bond. She also ordered Short held in lieu of $5,000 bond for violating the terms of bail in a pending misdemeanor battery case.

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