North Side man robbed an Uber driver, a neighbor, and 2 convenience stores, prosecutors say (Then there’s the strange part.)

Luis Pedraza | CPD

Prosecutors have charged a West Ridge man with robbing an Uber driver, two convenience stores, and his next-door neighbor in separate incidents since December. Some of the incidents are linked to an unusual robbery alert Chicago police issued for the neighborhood on January 9.

In the warning, Area Three detectives said they were investigating a series of robberies between November 25 and January 5 “where the victims are small stores, coffee shops, delivery drivers and citizens. Victims are robbed with guns, replica guns or mace.”

Police said three victims had been “lured to a residence by [a] female offender” on the 6100 block of North Damen.

Well being check

The break came last Wednesday afternoon when a 911 caller on that block asked police to investigate a loud banging noise coming from a neighboring apartment. Cops found the building’s glass broken and its front and back doors kicked in, according to a CPD report.

A woman refused to let them enter, but agreed to come out and talk to them, they reported. She reportedly told them that only she and her Russian-speaking female friend were in the apartment. Later, the Russian-speaking woman came out and started talking with a Russian-speaking police officer.

As they were chatting, Luis Pedraza, 39, opened a door, and the cops immediately recognized him as the person wanted in connection with several recent robberies, the CPD report said.

They detained Pedraza and cleared the apartment to be sure everyone was safe. A third woman was found inside, they said.

None of the women is charged with wrongdoing.

But Pedraza is.

Prosecutors charged him with four robberies after police took him in.

The allegations

On December 18, he entered a convenience store on the 2200 block of West Devon at closing time, pushed a customer, displayed a gun, and told the 34-year-old cashier to give him the money or he’d shoot, prosecutors said.

According to a criminal complaint, he then went behind the counter and took liquor, cigarettes, and cash worth about $5,000. Pedraza “made admissions” to the crime when police arrested him at the apartment, prosecutors said, but he told them the gun was only a toy.

Prosecutors also charged Pedraza with threatening and robbing a 27-year-old man who lives next door to the address where police arrested him. That allegedly happened on December 23.

On January 10, one day after CPD released its community alert, Pedraza took an Uber to the Damen address. Upon arrival, he punched the driver in the head and robbed him of his cash, the complaint said.

And on February 5, he allegedly pepper-sprayed a 22-year-old convenience store worker and then went behind the counter to take merchandise on the 2000 block of West Devon.

Pedraza has no felony background, prosecutors said.

Judge Mary Marubio ordered him held in lieu of $250,000 bail. He must post 10% of that and go on electronic monitoring to get out of jail under Marubio’s order.

The first two robberies were included in CPD’s alert on January 9. No one has been charged with the other four robberies listed in the alert, including two at the Damen address.

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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