By Devin Rose
The owner of the Bleeding Heart Bakery in Oak Park says she's not sure if the store will re-open following a Dec. 5 robbery, but that security measures will be implemented at the store's Elmhurst location, which is the current focus of bakery staff.
"We're installing cameras, doubling up shifts, offering rides and carpools, having police escorts (and) panic buttons and asking friends of ours who are police to frequent our locations," said Michelle Garcia in an email last week.
The Oak Park location at 1010 North Blvd. now has an "uncertain future," after the robbery and attack on the bakery's employee, Garcia said.
General manager Samantha Gilmore said since Garcia's husband and co-owner has been in California, no final decision about reopening can be made.
On Dec. 5, a man reportedly in his 20s came into the business between 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. He walked up to the female clerk and demanded cash from the register, police said. The clerk complied.
The offender then walked her to the basement area, took cash from a safe and locked her inside the storeroom before exiting the business. A neighbor heard the clerk's shouts for help and called police.
Garcia said the clerk, who was held around the neck by the offender and bruised, was doing fine and was "mostly shaken up." Police said the offender took her cell phone and car keys, and an estimated $3,550.
Garcia said no employee had ever told her they feared for their safety, and she is
"very upset" to be getting blamed for the robbery. Since the incident, Garcia said she's been getting threats from the attacked employee's family.
"We would never ever wish for something like this to happen. It is horrible. Both for her and for my business," Garcia's email said.
Another store location in the 1900 block of West Belmont Avenue in Chicago will close in about a week to move to a new building down the street at Belmont and Southport avenues, Gilmore said. That plan has been in place for months, and they hope to open at the new location by the New Year.