Homeless man tried to rob off-duty Chicago cop on the Orange Line: prosecutors

CHICAGO — Prosecutors have charged a homeless man with trying to rob an off-duty Chicago cop and the officer’s family on an Orange Line train. It’s the sixth time he’s been arrested this year.

The off-duty officer, his wife, and their 3-year-old child were riding the train near Ashland when Rasheed Sanders crossed into their car around 8:09 p.m. Saturday, officials said.

Sanders, 37, stood in front of the officer “very closely” and asked the family if they had any money, Assistant State’s Attorney Victor Aberdeen said during Sanders’ bail hearing Monday. The officer told Sanders they had no money to give him.

Rasheed Sanders is accused of trying to rob an off-duty Chicago cop on an Orange Line train near Ashland. | Chicago Police Department; Crawford Clark/Creative Commons

At that point, Aberdeen said, Sanders claimed to have a gun, prompting a witness to announce that they were notifying the authorities.

Sanders pressed the cop and his family, asking if they had a debit card or credit card, according to Aberdeen. The family did not respond and then exited at the next stop.

Chicago police officers found Sanders on the train and took him into custody.

Aberdeen said Sanders has ten misdemeanor convictions for assault, battery, theft, and trespassing. CPD records show Chicago cops had arrested Sanders five times this year before Saturday’s incident. They arrested him 13 times last year.

Judge Kelly McCarthy set bail at $50,000. That means Sanders must post a $5,000 bail deposit to get out of jail on an ankle monitor. McCarthy signed an order for officials to find housing where Sanders can be on electronic monitoring if he is released.

He is charged with attempted robbery and aggravated robbery.

The CTA has struggled to deploy a comprehensive plan to address the problems of homeless people who take shelter on the city’s train system.

Last October, the transit agency’s board approved an agreement allowing CTA “to work toward an intergovernmental agreement” with other agencies on a homeless assistance strategy. The proposed partnership with the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services would last a year and have a budget of “up to” $2 million, a CTA press release said.

When news outlets began reporting about large numbers of homeless people who started living in the terminals at O’Hare International Airport, then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration launched a crackdown, sending many of the unsheltered people onto trains and buses.

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