Loyola student who robbed Metra conductor for lunch money gets probation

Chicago — A Loyola University student who robbed a Metra train conductor because he was hungry and needed money for lunch before class has been sentenced to two years of probation.

Zion Brown, 19, pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery on Wednesday before Judge James Linn. The judge also sentenced Brown to 56 days in jail, which he had already served.

Zion Brown (inset right) and surveillance images of the robber. | Cook County sheriff’s office; Metra

The Metra Electric Line train had just arrived at the Van Buren Street Station in Grant Park on the afternoon of February 15, 2022, when Brown allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at the train conductor’s stomach. He took $110 from the conductor’s pockets on the platform and left the station.

Investigators quickly released surveillance images of the suspect to the media. Brown was arrested within hours because his mother saw the pictures on the news and recognized him. She loaded him into a car and drove him directly to the Calumet City Police Department, prosecutors said.

Brown later told police that he saw the conductor handling cash on the train and decided to rob him of the money, prosecutors said. During an initial bail hearing, Brown’s defense attorney said Brown was hungry and was looking for something to eat.

Brown, who has no other criminal background, allegedly told police the weapon he displayed was a BB gun that he tossed into a dumpster as he headed to school at Loyola’s downtown campus.

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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