Parolee robbed 8 convenience stores in Chicago and the suburbs, prosecutors say

CHICAGO — A man who’s on parole for illegally possessing and firing a handgun helped rob eight convenience stores in Chicago and the suburbs last week, prosecutors said Thursday.

Chicago police said five 7-Eleven stores were robbed at gunpoint on March 29 in a crime spree that stretched from the West Loop to Boystown to West Rogers Park. Now, prosecutors say Terrance Thomas, 19, was involved in those crimes and more.

Thomas and an unnamed accomplice entered the 7-Eleven at 560 West Grenshaw in the South Loop around 2 a.m. that morning, pointed guns at the cashier, and took money from the registers, Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Dale-Schmidt said during Thomas’ bail hearing.

Terrance Thomas is accused of robbing the 7-Eleven at 3700 North Broadway, among others. | Cook County sheriff’s office; Google

The duo went on to carry out similar robberies of 7-Eleven stores at 3700 North Broadway, 6801 North Western, and 2741 West Touhy within the next 90 minutes, according to the allegations. All of the crimes were caught on video.

Thomas and an accomplice robbed two Thornton’s locations early on March 31, taking either cash or entire registers from the stores at 2229 South Cicero and 3450 South California, Dale-Schmidt said.

Police almost caught Thomas the following evening. Officers pulled over a car in the 6700 block of South Maplewood and allegedly watched as Thomas switched seats with the car’s driver. Once he settled in behind the wheel, Thomas reversed into a squad car, struck a second vehicle, and sped from the scene, according to Dale-Schmidt. She said an officer suffered a knee injury during a “scuffle” with Thomas.

Two days later, Thomas robbed a Pilot gas station in Bridgeview and another Thornton’s in Summit, Dale-Schmidt alleged. She said police arrested Thomas early Tuesday morning after a traffic pursuit that reached 102 mph on the expressways. The car he was driving, a 2020 Hyundai Tucson, had a stripped steering column and a broken rear side window covered with a plastic bag, suggesting it may have been stolen.

Police found a handgun with a purple laser sight attached lying under the car’s passenger seat, Dale-Schmidt said. A similar weapon was used during some of the robberies.

Prosecutors charged Thomas with seven counts of armed robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, three counts of aggravated fleeing, and criminal damage to property. He was not charged with the Summit holdup, but Dale-Schmidt said those charges are expected.

Judge Susana Ortiz held Thomas without bail.

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