A Chicago man and three juveniles committed two robberies in about 30 minutes Saturday night near Wrigley Field, authorities said. But the real surprise during Cortez Savage’s bail hearing came from his defense attorney, who claimed that he graduated from Walter Payton College Prep and is studying accounting at Howard University.
That didn’t sit well with Judge Barbara Dawkins.
“This defendant is a graduate of one of the best high schools in this city and is currently attending one of the most prestigious historically Black colleges in this country,” Dawkins noted. She then ordered Savage to pay an $8,000 bail deposit to go home on electronic monitoring.
Howard University’s registrar was not available to confirm Savage’s status after business hours on Monday. A source confirmed that he did study at Walter Payton.
In the first robbery, a 23-year-old man was walking home in the 3800 block of North Sheffield when four robbers surrounded him around 10:30 p.m., according to a Chicago police report. Prosecutors said one of the robbers ordered him to hand over his valuables and then told another robber to “show them the pipe.” Pipe is a slang term for a handgun.
After getting the victim’s phone, wallet, and keys, the crew made him give up his phone’s passcode, then fled, prosecutor Sean Kelly said. Police later found the victim’s phone in Savage’s backpack, according to Kelly.
A few minutes later, four robbers surrounded a 27-year-old man who was waiting for an Uber in the 700 block of West Sheridan, officials said. One robber ordered him to empty his pockets.
Savage grabbed at the victim’s body and they both fell to the ground, at which point one of the juveniles removed the victim’s Apple watch and wallet, prosecutors alleged. Kelly said Savage told one of the juveniles to show the victim the gun, but 911 records indicate that the victim believed “they had a metal pipe.”
Police arrested Savage, a 16-year-old boy, and two 17-year-old boys after a foot chase near Clark Street and Cornelia Avenue around 12:35 a.m. Sunday.
Savage told officers that he was in the area of the robberies, but he denied taking part, Kelly said. He later admitted to putting one of the victim’s phones in his backpack and said one of the robberies “got out of hand,” and he had to “stomp” on the victim, Kelly continued.
Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber told Dawkins about Savage’s schooling and said he worked for DoorDash during the summer.
He is charged with two counts of felony aggravated robbery. Each juvenile is charged with one count of the same charge.
Both Kelly and Farber told Judge Dawkins that Savage has no criminal background.
Court records show he was convicted of felony unlawful use of a weapon in September 2020, but that sentence was vacated in August after he completed “first offender gun probation” and 50 hours of community service. During the August 2021 hearing, Judge Ursula Walowski also gave Savage permission to travel for college, according to court records.
Savage’s bail hearing came almost exactly five years after a memorable bail hearing for an 18-year-old Lincoln Park High School graduate whose defense attorney said he had received a full-ride basketball scholarship to the University of North Carolina.
In mid-July 2017, police arrested 18-year-old Bryce McGill outside Wrigley Field about 90 minutes after he and another man battered a 24-year-old woman and stole her phone in the 500 block of West Oakdale, prosecutors said.
Inside McGill’s backpacks, officers found a phone belonging to the woman who had been mugged earlier that night as well as proceeds taken in other muggings, according to police.
Last year, McGill pleaded guilty to seven robberies and received seven concurrent 7-year prison sentences. The state reduced his sentence by 50% for good behavior, and the balance of his prison term was offset by the time he spent on electronic monitoring.
The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill told CWBChicago in 2017 that it had no record of any application from or enrollment by Bryce McGill.