3 charged with robbing tamale stands at gunpoint

CHICAGO — An 18-year-old man with an extensive juvenile record worked with two teenagers to rob Chicago’s beloved tamale vendors at gunpoint, prosecutors say.

Chicago police arrested Demetreon Glover after he crashed the crew’s getaway car directly outside the Cook County Jail entrance at 3020 South California, according to his CPD arrest report.

The report said Glover acted as the getaway car driver, piloting a stolen 2019 Hyundai Tuscon, while two boys, ages 14 and 15, jumped out to rob the tamale vendors at gunpoint. Prosecutors said they robbed one tamale stand in the 4600 block of South Paulina and another in the 4800 block of South Paulina within five or ten minutes, starting around 7:16 a.m. Friday. One of the juveniles displayed a gun during both holdups, officials said.

About 45 minutes after the first robbery, Chicago police officers in the 9th District spotted a car that matched the description of a vehicle used in “several” armed robberies, the arrest report said.

Officers chased the Hyundai until it crashed in a Cook County parking lot across from the jail. Glover bailed out of the driver’s seat and ran, but the police caught him steps from the county jail entrance, according to the report. The cops said they found a bundle of cash in his pocket. Also arrested were two boys, ages 14 and 15.

Someone inside the car tossed a gun from the vehicle as police were chasing them, prosecutors said. The police recovered it and found its serial number had been obliterated.

Glover initially told cops that he was a 14-year-old named James Staples, his arrest report said. The police believed him, going so far as to ship him off to the county’s juvenile detention center. They shipped him back to CPD after a fingerprint check revealed his real name and age, the report said.

During Glover’s detention hearing, Judge Ankur Srivastava noted that he had three juvenile convictions for firearms offenses, a detail that Srivastava said factored in his decision to keep Glover in jail to await trial.

Demetreon Glover is accused of being in an armed robbery crew that targeted Chicago’s tamale vendors. | LRD615/Flickr; Cook County sheriff’s office

Prosecutors charged Glover with two counts of armed robbery with a firearm, possessing a stolen motor vehicle, and felony criminal damage to property for allegedly destroying the mattress in his CPD holding cell.

The juveniles are also charged with two robberies and possessing the stolen car. Prosecutors hit the 14-year-old with an additional count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Glover and the 15-year-old also had outstanding warrants.

Armed robbery crews have frequently targeted the city’s hard-working tamale vendors this year.

The robberies were even mentioned during a mayoral candidate debate in January. A moderator asked candidates to detail their plans to protect food vendors “who have to go out on the street day in and day out to make ends meet.”

“We’ve been in Little Village working with those vendors hand in glove to make sure that they are doing things that they can do to protect themselves,” then-mayor Lori Lightfoot replied. “Like not using cash. Making sure that the cash they do take in is secure.”

She lost the election handily.

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