North Ave. armed robberies may be part of a pattern

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By BILL DWYER

Oak Park police said they are exploring the likelihood that two recent armed robberies in Oak Park may be part of a larger pattern of robberies that extends along North Avenue from the 5100 block in Chicago, through Oak Park and out to the Winston Plaza Shopping center in Melrose Park.

"These were all business robberies, and the offender description seems to match," said Oak Park Deputy Chief Robert Scianna of the robberies.

The evening of June 11 a man entered T.J. Cleaners, 6101 W. North Ave., ordered the employee to lie on the floor, produced a silver hand gun, and placed it against her neck. He took the contents of the cash register as well as the employee's purse, and fled with a plastic bag containing six pair of jeans. Loss was $2,100.

Sometime that same evening a business in the 1200 block of North Avenue in Melrose Park was also robbed at gun point in a similar manner. Both robberies, Scianna said, are similar in key ways to a May 31 robbery of the Cy Discount store at 6039 North Ave. in which two men, one displaying a blue steel revolver, took cash from the store register, then took a man and a woman to a back room, where they removed $2,500 from the woman's coat pocket, took her purse, and also stole some 20 cases of Newport cigarettes for a total take of $4,300.

Scianna said police aren't certain of any connections in three armed street robberies in Oak Park last week, though they made a pair of arrests Sunday night.

Just before midnight on June 6 a Chicago man was confronted by two men in the 100 block of Chicago Avenue and pulled him into a parking area. One man demanded "What do you got!" then struck the man in the face, as his accomplice hit the man on the back of the head with an unknown object. The two then removed the man's cell phone, $400 cash and various IDs and credit cards.

The following morning a man was approached by another man from behind near South Boulevard and Austin Boulevard. The thief pointed a hand gun at the man and demanded money, but left after the other man said he wasn't carrying a wallet.

Sunday night, June 12, two male Chicago juveniles were arrested on a Green Line elevated train as they counted money taken in an earlier armed robbery. The two juveniles, who were positively identified by their victim, are being charged as adults, had robbed an Oak Park man of his wallet, containing $146 in cash, credit cards, and IDs just after 10 p.m.

"They rode out on the el from the city, then got back on the train afterwards, where we grabbed them," said Scianna.

CONTACT: bdwyer@wjinc.com

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