Man charged with Lincoln Park robbery attempt is sent home after prosecutors fail to ask a judge to keep him in custody

CHICAGO — A man accused of pushing another man to the ground during a robbery attempt in Lincoln Park was released from custody this month after prosecutors opted not to ask a judge to keep him in jail, court records show.

Judge Kelly McCarthy released Ronnie Thomas, 66, with instructions to return to court and stay out of trouble. She did not require him to go on electronic monitoring or observe a curfew, according to the records.

A witness was the first to call 911 about the incident around noon on November 7 in the 2400 block of North Clark.

When police arrived, a 61-year-old man who lives nearby told police that a man followed him off of a CTA bus and said, “Give me your money, I have a gun,” according to Thomas’ arrest report.

The victim told the robber he didn’t have any money, and the assailant pushed him to the ground, the report said. At that point, the witness intervened, and the robber fled the scene while yelling at both the victim and the witness, according to the report.

Ronnie Thomas | Chicago Police Department; Multiplottr

CPD officers searched the area and found Thomas about a block away. They arrested him after the victim, and the witness confirmed that he was the offender, police said. Police did not find a firearm, and nobody reported seeing one, despite the robber’s alleged threat.

In court the next day, prosecutors explained the allegations to Judge McCarthy, but they did not ask her to detain Thomas. McCarthy determined that Thomas did not present a threat to the public, so she sent him home.

He’s charged with attempted robbery while indicating the presence of a firearm.

Thomas is not the only person charged with a robbery offense sent home by judges this month. Two men charged with committing separate robberies on the CTA were released. Prosecutors did not file detention requests in either case.

In a case that did not involve robbery allegations, a judge this month rejected a prosecutor’s request to keep a man in custody after Chicago police said they saw him fire three shots at a passing vehicle. The accused man was sent home with nothing more than the usual instructions to stay out of trouble and show up for court.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is