A 17-year-old Chicago boy has been charged with armed robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after allegedly hijacking a car in Forest Park and then leading police on a chase that ended with his capture in Oak Park on June 9.
Forest Park police say that a local man had just parked his car in the municipal lot on Hannah Avenue just south of Madison Street at about 4:15 p.m. and was walking through the alley to his apartment when a black Chevy Impala drove up and stopped behind him.
The alleged offender, a 17-year-old Chicago resident, got out of the Impala and walked up to the victim as he began climbing the back stairs of his apartment building. The offender reportedly pointed a gun in the victim's face and ordered him to hand over the car keys. The victim gave him the keys, which were used to steal the car, a silver Dodge Avenger.
The victim called 911 and Oak Park police located the vehicle a short time later, following it until the driver lost control at the intersection of Adams Street and Kenilworth Avenue, running down a yield sign before slamming into the curb and a small tree.
"I thought there had been a car accident," said Edith Balch, who was inside her home at the time of the crash and went outside to see what had happened. "The police asked us to get back in our houses, because they said the man was armed. It's very scary."
Another witness said he heard the crash and went outside to see the car rolling back off the curb. He said he saw a male with bushy hair "fall out" of the vehicle and then run north through the alley between Kenilworth and Grove avenues.
Police, some armed with assault rifles, descended on the area and formed a perimeter south of Monroe Street and west of Oak Park Avenue, taking up positions on each corner as officers searched for the suspect.
Just after 5:30 p.m., police located the suspect apparently walking in an alley between the 600 blocks of Euclid and Wesley avenues. Michael Tauber, a neighborhood resident, said he was parking his car in his garage when he saw the suspect begin running south before cutting east through a side yard.
Police took the suspect into custody in the 600 block of Wesley Avenue. According to Forest Park police, officers recovered a loaded handgun. The Chevy Impala, which the offender abandoned in Forest Park, reportedly was stolen in Chicago and was fitted with license plates that had been stolen from another vehicle in Bellwood.
It's the second such robbery reported in Forest Park within a week. On June 4 at about 10:45 p.m., four people hijacked a car after pistol-whipping its owner in front of a laundromat in the 7600 block of Madison Street. Police chased the stolen vehicle and another car to the Dan Ryan Expressway before losing the stolen vehicle in traffic.
The other vehicle ran out of gas on the Stony Island exit ramp, where police apprehended two teenagers, one of whom they later charged with fleeing police. On June 5 the vehicle stolen in Forest Park was involved in a shooting in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago.
Two 17-year-olds and a 12-year-old were charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at police officers and then fleeing in the vehicle stolen from Forest Park.