First reported 1/29/2010 9:52 a.m.
Three Chicago men are in custody and facing Class X felony charges after an armed robbery Thursday night of a convenience store in River Forest.
Just after 10:30 p.m., Eddie Arroyo, of 5531 S. Trumbull and Timothy Weatherby, of 3454 W. 64th Place, both in Chicago, allegedly entered the 7-Eleven store at 1140 Harlem in River Forest, where Weatherby produced a handgun and demanded money from the store clerk while Arroyo stood look out. A third man, Andrew Urbaniak, of 3340 W. 66th Place in Chicago, waited behind the store in a Jeep SUV.
All three were charged with Class X Armed Robbery. Arroyo, 30, and Weatherby, 26, are being held on $150,000 bond. Urbaniak, 24, who refused to stop for police, instead leading them on a seven minute car chase, was also charged with felony Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding a Police Officer. He is being held on $200,000 bond. All three have court dates Thursday in Maywood.
Unfortunately for the three alleged robbers, off-duty Oak Park police officer Elizabeth Dickenson was driving south on Harlem toward the 7-Eleven at Division when she noticed Arroyo standing by the front door and thought something didn’t look right.
Backing up onto the center median, she exited her car and peered over into the store and saw Weatherby standing by the counter, allegedly pointing a gun at the clerk.
Dickson immediately broadcast the incident along with license plate information, then ran around the side of the building to the rear, where she confronted the two men at gun point and ordered them to stop. One man paused momentarily, but then bolted into the Jeep, which sped off.
Another off duty officer, Ed Harris from the Maywood Police Department, saw Dickson with her gun drawn and stopped to offer assistance. He followed the Jeep while Dickson went to assist the store clerk. Another Oak Park officer soon took up pursuit of the Jeep, trailing it east and south through Oak Park.
The driver led police through Oak Park, Berwyn and south on Harlem through Forest Park and North Riverside. According to radio transmissions, the suspects made multiple attempts to elude police, driving through the McDonald’s lot on Harlem, east on Ontario and south on Oak Park Avenue.
The car drove up and down alleys and side streets in South Oak Park before going through the Shell station lot at Harlem and Roosevelt and heading south on Harlem. It was finally curbed in Berwyn at Harlem and Cermak by squad cars from Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn and North Riverside, and the three suspects were arrested without further incident. Two witnesses driven to the scene each identified at least one of the men.
Several pieces of evidence, including a replica Glock BB gun and black ski mask were later recovered by police canvassing on the 1100 block of Augusta along the chase route. A pair of gloves similar to those used in the robbery were recovered nearby. River Forest police say they also have video evidence tying Weathersby and Arroyo to the crime.
“We have photos of them standing at the counter with a gun pointed at the clerk and one of them reaching over the counter,” said River Forest Police Chief Frank Limon.
A pleased Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley on Monday praised Dickenson for her alertness and initiative, and suggested it would be good for everyone to be more attentive.
“I’d like everybody to do that,” he said. “You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times.”