CHICAGO — Prosecutors have charged a Hazel Crest man with robbery for allegedly forcing a man to surrender his phone near Wrigley Field and then Venmoing himself money from the victim’s account. A judge rejected the prosecutor’s request to jail him as a public safety threat.
Chicago police received several similar reports from robbery victims in Wrigleyville and North Center over the past few months.
But Isaac Jefferies, 32, is only accused of committing one robbery, which occurred around 7:40 p.m. on August 4 outside Slugger’s World Class Sports Bar, 3540 North Clark.
The 40-year-old victim told police that three men confronted him and ordered him to hand over his money and wallet or they would hurt him, according to the state’s detention request. He eventually surrendered his phone to the men, and Jefferies allegedly transferred $3,000 to a Venmo account in his own name and then returned the victim’s phone, the filing said.
Working from the Venmo account information, Chicago cops included Jefferies’ picture in a photo line-up, and the victim identified him, police say. Police arrested him at his home on Monday. No other arrests have been made.
Judge Susana Ortiz denied the state’s request to hold Jefferies in jail to await trial. She released him on electronic monitoring instead.
According to court records, Jefferies was on probation for a misdemeanor gun conviction at the time of the alleged robbery. In that case, he initially faced a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, but he worked out a plea deal that brought it down to a misdemeanor. His probation ended successfully seven days after the robbery.
Among similar crimes reported in the area was a May 25 robbery in the 1000 block of West Addison, right outside Wrigley Field. A 29-year-old man told police he encountered “someone offering to sell items” while walking near the ballpark. After the victim paid for the products via Venmo, the offender took control of his phone and transferred even more cash, getting away with $700, police said.
The next night, a 21-year-old man told police he was targeted in the 1900 block of West Irving Park. A CPD spokesperson said the victim was outside when the offender confronted him with a knife and ordered him to transfer money electronically. The victim was not injured, but $400 was reportedly taken from his Venmo account.
No arrests have been made in either of those cases.
Similar crimes have been reported in Wrigleyville since at least 2018.