Purse robbers shoot at good Samaritan

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By Ben Meyerson

Chicago Journal Editor

An armed robber and his getaway driver are in Cook County Jail, after taking a woman's purse and shooting at a man who followed them from the scene.

Diego Garcia, 20, and Cassandra Lavold, 21, both of Melrose Park, were arrested Dec. 8 on the Eisenhower Expressway at Desplaines Avenue after being chased by multiple squad cars and getting into an accident with one of them in the process, according to Oak Park Police Detective Commander LaDon Reynolds.

It all started at Harrison Street and Lombard Avenue in the Oak Park Arts District, Wednesday afternoon around 3:40 p.m., when Garcia allegedly robbed a woman of her purse at gunpoint, according to police.

Garcia reportedly got into a car driven by Lavold and left the scene, but a man who witnessed the robbery followed as the perpetrators' car drove west through Oak Park.

Garcia and Lavold realized the witness was following them, and Garcia allegedly got out of the car on Maple Avenue near Jackson Boulevard and fired a bullet from a handgun at the witness, Reynolds said. The bullet missed, and Garcia got back into the car and sped away.

Oak Park police spotted the car just a few blocks away near the Harlem entrance to the Eisenhower, where multiple squad cars from Oak Park and Forest Park quickly began to follow them.

Garcia and Lavold fled on I-290 westbound but didn't get far. They were pulled over and arrested near the highway's median at Desplaines Avenue after getting into a minor accident with a police car.

The woman's purse was allegedly found in the vehicle, and Garcia and Lavold were identified by the victim. The car ran out of gas on the highway, and was towed back to the Oak Park police station.

The westbound Eisenhower was shut down by police for investigation, crippling traffic leaving the city during rush hour.

Garcia and Lavold were both charged with armed robbery and attempted murder. Garcia was also charged with unlawful use of a weapon, and Lavold was charged with possession of firearm ammunition without registration.

Both were in Cook County jail as of a court date last week. Their next court date is 9 a.m. on Dec. 27 at the Maywood Circuit Courthouse.

Reader Comments

28 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

S. Plissken from Oak Park  

Posted: December 13th, 2010 1:38 PM

Theodore, turns out your a draft dodger... what's up with that? defend the constitution but hate government. From what I read you went to the draft board looking like Jethro Tull's Aqualung.

OP Resdient  

Posted: December 12th, 2010 8:10 PM

@Concerned Citizen Please withdraw your invitation to Ted Nugent. You must know that he's a deadbeat dad; arranged to be named legal guardian of a 17 year girl with whom he was romantically involved; was cited for illegal baiting of deers, paid $75K in damages after calling the director of the Fund for Animals a "worthless whore " and "shallow slut"; and regularly uses the "N-word". Nugent is an unprincipled loudmouth and a truly despicible character. Yuck!

Concerned Citizen  

Posted: December 11th, 2010 6:29 PM

Red, White and Nuge !! Maybe Oak Park can hire Ted to do a little bow hunting around here and thin out the miscreant's that have overrun this village.

OP Resident  

Posted: December 10th, 2010 9:52 PM

@Theodore Nugent You may want to reconsider using this name as your signature for comments. Check out the facts about the "Wild Man" and you'll realize that Ted Nugent is a self-promoting fraud. He dodged the draft, supports ultra-right wing causes and hunts big game on a fenced-in farm. You may have a little too much Fox News in your diet if you are buying the baloney about Ted Nugent. As a musician he's adequate but a patriotic American he is not.

julie from oak park  

Posted: December 10th, 2010 5:59 PM

... and thank you to Harrison Street people and store owners who also pulled together! Merry Christmas and remember, good things do happen sometimes. :)

Don from Oak Park  

Posted: December 10th, 2010 5:11 PM

Ted, I never referred to or relied upon any case law in any of my comments, nor did I ever claim the 2d Amend. had anything to do with any of the recent gun violence in Oak Park. My comments neither advocate for nor rally against any individual's right to bear arms. Please do not presume to know my position based upon a couple of vague comments which were intended to spur conversation more than argue for or against any Constitutional issue.

Violet Aura  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 6:14 PM

It's no big deal. I mean, a woman getting robbed in broad daylight, shot fired (attempted murder, in other words) at a witness, police chase...Just another isolated incident. (Now where's that sand to stick my head in...)

James  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 5:30 PM

Paddy Boy: I agree with your statement.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 3:44 PM

Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and many other citizens in Eastern Europe in the late 30's, 1939 in particular, were not allowed to own or carry rifles or handguns. We should have learned by now that not allowing citizens the right to protect their homes and families is fundamentally wrong. Personally I'm against having "gun nuts" running around acting tough and such. However, it's pretty obvious by now that bad guys aren't deterred by gun laws.

Theodore Nugent  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 3:09 PM

@Don: PS. If you actually take the time to read the opinion, you might note a) that Justice Breyer's dissent includes a historical argument that seeks to negate the majority opinion's historical analysis and b) Justice Thomas' concurrence details the racist factual underpinnings of Cruikshank, the Supreme Court opinion upon which modern gun control jurisprudence had been premised.

Theodore Nugent  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 2:43 PM

@Don: it is fine to have an opinion, but you have to expect people to call you out if you are wrong on the facts. If you actually read McDonald v. Chicago you, and the others that comment here, might realize that the rights protected by the Second Amendment have absolutely ZERO to do with the rash of armed robberies around here.

Tony from Oak Park  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 2:19 PM

I would like to say a big 'Thank you!' to the witness that followed the robbers even though he knew they had a gun. It is exactly this type of brave, engaged, and involved behavior that will keep our community safe. When his name becomes public, we should all offer to buy him a cup of coffee from the Buzz.

Don from Oak Park  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 1:48 PM

Ted, it seems as if others exercising their freedom of expression regarding their opinion on the right to bear arms, it brings out the worst in you. Perhaps you would be happier if everyone simply agreed with your point of view, or if not, they simply kept their opinions to themselves. I apologize in advance for any misspellings.

Theodore Nugent  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 10:18 AM

It would be nice if the local Constitutional experts, like Ms. Schnierow and Mr. Heinz, would actually read the S. Ct. opinion in McDonald v. City of Chicago so they could actually comprehend the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment before sounding like they have no clue what they are talking about.

Grass Roots from Oak Park  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 8:59 AM

Extra Christmas gifts this year for the citizen crime fighter. There is hope. Maybe if half the police force wasn't at OPRF High School at the time of the robbery, it could been prevented. We need need more officers, a new cheif, and a new deployment strategy. The under reporting and reclassifying of the stats needs to be a feature story. We are scared for our families, friends, and neighbors safety, property, and rights. Maybe we need Forest Park and River Forest to show us the right way.

OP Realist  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 8:26 AM

Glad to see that Oak Park Handgun Ban is still keeping us all safe!

oak park crime victim  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 6:10 AM

One big problem is the failure of the victims to follow through with the prosecution of the punks. It's inconvenient, a little scary and white guilt plays a part here too. The punks know the system and abuse it to their benefit. Having witnessed it firsthand, the juvenile system is joke - dumping the kids right back in the streets with no requirement to even attend school. Who amoung us will be the first to exercise vigilante justice in frustration?

Joel Heinz from Oak Park  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 5:26 AM

Yes we need more guns. Guns for everyone - guns for teachers, guns for kids, guns are the obvious answer - it's even in the Constitution!! Have you hugged your gun today?

Bob R  

Posted: December 9th, 2010 12:02 AM

Muriel, in your world the only ones to have handguns would be the criminals because they are CRIMINALS and do not obey laws and will ALWAYS be able to obtain a handgun every time they get out of prison. Be a mouse afraid of your own shadow if you want but don't impose your wishes on me and the many like me.

Jim Mariner from River forest  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 11:11 PM

My "hats off" to the brave citizen who tracked these ne'er-do-well's down. As for Muriel Schnierow comments: Get your head out of your a#% !!!

Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 9:20 PM

We've got to remember always the police officers who brave this kind of situation. A shot fired in O.P. endangers all of us and the shooter needs apprehension and a righteous justice. Times are hard, people. Desperation is common. We need to both take care of each other so it doesn't get so bad and also protect ourselves from harm, to the degree we can. We are our brother's keeper, and the brothers and sisters in blue take care of us.

Anne from Oak Park  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 9:09 PM

I have to wonder how many times these same people have been arrested for other crimes and were still walking the streets free. The police can only do so much, all they can do is risk their lives arresting bums like this, only to have what is laughingly called our justice system turn them free.

muriel schnierow from River Forest  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 9:05 PM

This is the result of our failure to stop the agenda of the NRA.We need gun control now!Anyone who thinks the Founding Fathers meant for this to happen when they wrote the 2nd amendment (which i think should be removed) hasn't thought it through.

adele from oak park  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 8:38 PM

This was an isolated incident. Crime in Oak Park is down. People in the arts district and Holmes school shouldn't be concerned by stray bullets. WJ advises to keep our heads level, retain perspective - not the perspective that in broad daylight in trendiest parts of Oak Park during the after school hours of 3-4 p.m one can be subjected to armed robbery, assault, and attempted murder. Please don't take that perspective. That would require some type of response, action. NOT THAT PERSPECTIVE!!!!!!

Oak Park Citizen of the Year  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 7:27 PM

I'd like to nominate the Good Samaritan from this story and all the other Giod Sams of 2010 for the Wednesday Journal's Oak Park Citizen of the Year Award.

PO- PO A GO-GO from THE OP  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 7:21 PM

The OP does have a great Police dept. I think that they need at least five more patrol cars on the street each shift. Cameras are also great at stopping crime. I am liberal as they come but this is just some of what is needed. Not a knock on our brave women and men in blue, they simply need more help. Would it cost a bundle? Yes. A very solid investment in my opinion.

Marie from Oak Park  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 7:07 PM

I wonder if these are the same people who have been robbing other Oak Parkers with a gun?

Meena from Forest Park  

Posted: December 8th, 2010 6:59 PM

Fun on the Ike! Glad no one was hurt. That is pretty brazen to do it at gunpoint...

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