Prosecutors say a group of men robbed four people in Rogers Park and along the nearby lakefront in under an hour last Wednesday evening before police caught one offender.
It all started when a convenience store employee asked three men to stop urinating in an alley as he took out some trash on the 6800 block of North Sheridan around 10:50 p.m..
One of the men, identified by prosecutors as 24-year-old Arturo Alvarez, threatened to “f-ck up” the clerk and ordered him to hand over his cash, Assistant State’s Attorney Sean Kelly said. One of the other men wrapped their arms around the victim’s body and took $20 from his pants. The group then left the scene.
While the clerk called 911, the men made their way to the lakefront, according to Kelly.
There, they allegedly confronted a man and asked for his money. When the victim said he didn’t have any, one man grabbed the victim’s phone and threw it into the lake, Kelly said.
Alvarez snatched the man’s backpack from his hand and the men walked away, according to Kelly. The victim tried to convince them to return the backpack, but Alvarez threatened to shoot him if he continued to follow the group, Kelly said.
Next, the crew confronted a man and his girlfriend who were walking near the 1100 block of West Pratt.
Alvarez demanded cash from them while one of the other men tried to grab the woman’s purse, Kelly said. The couple pushed him away. Alvarez threw a glass bottle at the man, then began punching him in the back of the head, Kelly said.
Meanwhile, the woman began screaming until a robber grabbed her and covered her mouth. Alvarez threatened to shoot her boyfriend when he tried to help her, according to Kelly. One of Alvarez’s accomplices threw the boyfriend to the ground and slapped him in the face, Kelly continued.
As luck would have it, cops who were handling the first robbery were still at the 7-Eleven and they heard the woman screaming for help. They investigated and chased three men as they ran away from the couple.
Cops arrested Alvarez and recovered a backpack that he threw while running, Kelly said. The bag belonged to the man who was robbed at the lakefront and contained the victim’s ID and other personal items, according to Kelly.
While Alvarez allegedly threatened to shoot some victims, no one saw a weapon, and police did not find a gun, according to Kelly.
Alvarez’s public defender said he has three kids and lives with his girlfriend. He has no adult criminal convictions.
Prosecutors charged him with robbery, aggravated robbery, two counts of attempted aggravated robbery, and two counts of misdemeanor battery.
Judge Maryam Ahmad set bail at $180,000. Alvarez must post 10% of that amount to get out of jail on electronic monitoring under Ahmad’s order.
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