Man robbed West Loop restaurant, then set all of the money on fire, prosecutors say

Prosecutors say a Wisconsin man robbed a West Loop sandwich shop with a fake shotgun and then set fire to all of the cash he received before leaving. He is now charged with robbery and arson. Interestingly, under state law, the arson charge is much more serious than the robbery count.

It happened Friday afternoon at Subway, 304 South Jefferson.

When Chicago police arrived at the scene, they discovered a pile of burnt money near the restaurant’s cash register, as well as charring on the floor and service counter.

Elijah Ferrell and the Subway at 304 South Jefferson. | CPD; Google

According to an employee, a man ordered a meatball sandwich before pulling a purple Mossberg shotgun from a blue gym bag and demanding all of the store’s money.

The cashier gave the entire cash drawer to the robber, who took all of the money, tossed it onto the floor, and doused it with a liquid that he carried in a water bottle. He then set it all on fire with a cigarette lighter and fled on foot. Prosecutors said the liquid appeared to be gasoline.

Officers reviewed surveillance footage and searched the area for the robber. When Elijah Ferrell, 25, saw cops approaching him near the store, he dropped a blue gym bag and walked away, prosecutors said. Cops caught him and the Subway clerk allegedly confirmed that he was the robber.

According to the allegations, police discovered a replica purple Mossberg shotgun, a bottle of “suspected flammable liquid,” and a cigarette inside the blue gym bag.

Ferrell, according to Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood, lives in Wisconsin and works as a freelance landscaper.

Prosecutors said he has two felony convictions in his home state for possessing burglary tools and receiving stolen property.

Judge Susana Ortiz set bail at $100,000 and ordered Ferrell to remain in Illinois until the case is resolved. She also imposed electronic monitoring as a condition of release, should Ferrell post the required 10% deposit bond.

Ferrell is charged with aggravated robbery, which is a Class 2 felony, and aggravated arson, which is a Class X felony, the state’s most serious crime category short of murder.

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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