Chicago — A man who is currently jailed for allegedly robbing a man on the Red Line downtown while he was on bail for allegedly having a gun on the Red Line on the South Side has been charged with committing yet another robbery on the CTA earlier this year.
We first told you about Romeo Barner last month after prosecutors said he and three others attacked and robbed a man on the Red Line near Roosevelt on October 30.
Now, prosecutors are accusing him of committing another robbery less than a week after the Red Line mugging. It happened on the Orange Line near the Halsted station around 4:55 p.m. on November 5.
Barner and an accomplice sat across from the victim, and Barner asked the man what size shoe he wore, prosecutor Sarah Dale-Schmidt said. The victim ignored Barner.
“Do you want those shoes?” Barner allegedly continued. “What kind of phone do you have? Does it have a lock code on it?”
The victim stayed quiet, but Barner continued, Dale-Schmidt said.
“Look,” he allegedly told the victim, “this can go the easy way or the hard way.”
At that point, Barner stood up and punched the victim several times in the head, Dale-Schmidt said. The accomplice joined in.
Three more accomplices arrived when another passenger tried to intervene and joined the fight. Barner pushed the victim back onto his seat, took his phone, punched him in the face, and searched his pockets, Dale-Schmidt alleged.
“Just give up your sh*t and this will go a lot easier,” one of the accomplices advised.
Dale-Schmidt said that the victim, who had been punched 20 to 30 times, suffered a concussion. He ran off the train at the next stop and asked a CTA employee for help. About 30 minutes later, a CTA train operator realized a group of robbery suspects was on their train. They notified the police.
Dale-Schmidt said Barner gave police a fake name but his real home address. But police apparently did not arrest him at the time.
Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Barner to pay a $5,000 bail deposit to go home on electronic monitoring in the new case.
Chicago police arrested Barner about a week after the Orange Line robbery after a detective recognized him as one of the offenders who robbed a 29-year-old man on the Red Line downtown on October 30.
In that case, the victim told police that Barner and two others were on his train car when Barner commented that he liked the chain the victim was wearing, prosecutors said. That comment made the victim feel unsafe, so he moved to a different train car, but the trio followed him.
In the second car, a woman grabbed the chain from the man’s neck, and all three offenders began punching the victim in the face and body. Prosecutors said the victim tried to push the offenders off the train, but they continued attacking him until he moved to a third car.
The victim suffered a black eye, bruises, and cuts to his face. His pendant was worth about $300.
A Chicago police officer saw images of the attack and recognized Barner because the cop arrested him in June for allegedly having a firearm on the 79th Street Red Line platform, officials said.
During his latest bail hearing, Barner’s public defender said he has a 2-year-old daughter who “is his biggest inspiration.” The lawyer said Barner has been “going to his local library regularly” to apply for GED programs and jobs. He is passionate about music and children and hopes to create cartoons, the attorney said.
Barner has been held in the Cook County jail without bail since he was arrested on November 12.