Cellular store employees zip-tied, robbed downtown on Saturday morning

The T-Mobile store at 600 West Roosevelt Road. | Google

CHICAGO — Armed robbers restrained employees of a downtown cellular store and got away with over $50,000 worth of iPhones on Saturday morning, according to a preliminary Chicago police report.

On Friday, police arrested a man after another cellular store was robbed in Lincoln Square, but his accomplice escaped from cops with a pair of handcuffs dangling from his wrist.

Saturday’s robbery occurred at T-Mobile, 600 West Roosevelt, shortly after 10 a.m.

Two men armed with at least one gun entered the store and restrained the employees with zip ties. They took phones and cash from the store’s safe and escaped in a black Jeep Compass that was last seen heading west on Roosevelt Road.

An officer at the scene said the robbers were two Black men wearing ski masks, one about 5’6″ tall and the other about 6’2″ tall. Both were about 20 years old.

In Lincoln Square, two men robbed the Verizon store, 4752 North Lincoln, around 12:30 p.m. Friday. After getting phones from the store, they escaped on an inbound Brown Line train from the Western station.

Chicago cops followed GPS trackers inside the phones to intercept the train at Belmont. Officers arrested one man there and recovered items stolen from the store, police said.

But the second offender broke away from officers as they tried to arrest him. Witnesses said he jumped onto the roof of a building west of the Brown Line tracks, hopped onto a dumpster, and ran north on Sheffield Avenue.

He was described as Black, heavyset, 5’6″ to 5’9″ tall, with handcuffs on one wrist. He had long dreadlocks and wore a gray and brown top with red stripes, police at the scene reported.

Charges were pending.

CPD warned cellular stores late last month about armed robbers who had targeted businesses in Lincoln Park and Roscoe Village. Some of those stores’ employees were also zip-tied.

Police said the robbers walked into the stores and asked about phones until customers left. Once they were alone with the employees, the robbers pulled out handguns and forced the workers to retrieve Apple products from the store’s safe.

The alert described the suspects as two Black men between 20 and 30 years old who wore black hoodies, black pants, and surgical or ski masks.

One of the Roscoe Village robbers had a cross-shaped tattoo between his eyes, and the other had a large gap between his front teeth, according to an officer who responded to the store’s 911 call.

Anyone with information about the crimes can contact Area Three detectives at 312-744-8263 regarding crime pattern #P23-3-076.

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