CTA knife attacker is in custody, police say — and he’s 15

A 15-year-old boy is in custody, accused of attacking a CTA passenger with a knife during a robbery aboard the Purple Line downtown this week, police said. The same teen is also charged with robbing a woman on another L train downtown the next day — and using a knife to threaten a CTA employee who tried to intervene.

Police said the suspect was arrested when he entered the Wentworth District police station in Fuller Park around 4:16 p.m. Thursday.

On Monday, the teen brandished a knife and robbed a 23-year-old man of his phone as they rode a Purple Line train near Adams-Wabash around 7:18 p.m., according to police. After the victim complied, the robber demanded the phone’s passcode and stabbed the victim, police said.

Chicago police released these images of the man sought in connection with the Purple Line attack. | CPD

“All I can think about is him screaming for my password and me trying not to get stabbed while also figuring out what he was saying,” the victim wrote in a Reddit post. “I didn’t know what the ‘password’ was…until I realized he meant my phone.”

“The wounds were minor,” the author said, “but I’m still in shock.”

Around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, the teen again brandished a knife to rob a 29-year-old woman as they rode a southbound Brown Line train from the Merchandise Mart, according to a CPD report. He allegedly threatened a 51-year-old CTA worker with the knife and ordered him not to interfere with the robbery.

According to witnesses, the offender got off at Washington and Wells, then dumped his distinctive jacket, a knife, and other property in a West Loop building and fled into Union Station. Just hours later, CPD released images of the suspect in a public bulletin about Monday’s robbery.

Prosecutors charged the teenager with two felony counts of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony aggravated battery to a transit employee and misdemeanor assault to a transit employee.

No further information is available about the accused teen because he is a juvenile.

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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