Charges were filed against two adults and a pair of juveniles following armed robberies in River Forest and Oak Park overnight on Sunday. The four are suspected in a series of armed robberies over the past ten days in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park and other near west suburbs.
Charged with armed robbery and aggravated robbery by Oak Park police are Everette T. Silias, 20, and Anthony Spencer, 20, both of Bellwood. A 15 year old Bellwood juvenile and a 16 year old Maywood juvenile, whom Oak Park police allege did the actual robbery in Oak Park, were also charged and are being held in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.
Following earlier robberies in Oak Park and Glen Elyn, two young men entered the White Hen Pantry, 7971 W. Lake Street in River Forest around 4:40 a.m. Monday morning. According to River Forest police, one man allegedly displayed a hand gun and demanded money from the clerk. After the clerk turned over the cash, the gunman struck the clerk and the pair fled into a waiting van occupied by two other men.
Responding River Forest police had a description dispatched almost immediately, and four Forest Park police officers, including Sergeant Steve Zanoni, were among the first outside officers to respond, according to Forest Park police Chief James Ryan.
Zanoni quickly set up surveillance at Washington Boulevard and 1st Avenue, and soon spotted a van matching the description of the vehicle used in the robbery.
Backed up by River Forest and Maywood police, Zanoni pulled the van over at Washington Street and 12th Avenue, in Maywood.
Zanoni observed what Ryan termed “a large amount of cash” lying on the rear floor and also recovered a large caliber hand gun. Additional cash was also recovered from under the vehicle’s front seat. Following the four occupant’s arrest, the victim of the River Forest robbery and battery reportedly positively identified the two men in the back seat, both juveniles, as his assailants.
Ryan expressed satisfaction Monday with the work of the four Forest Park officers, including Zanoni, Lt. Stephen Weiler, and Patrol Officers Grimes and Flores.
“Our guys did a terrific job of putting it together and working closely with River Forest,” he said.
Ryan was particularly pleased with Zanoni.
“He’s our hero,” Ryan said of the veteran officer, who he noted was also involved in the arrest of alleged Wrigleyville Rapist Paul Cruikshank last New Year’s Eve.
Ryan said his department is investigating the four men’s role in three armed robberies in Forest Park, those include the April 10 robbery at the Roosevelt Rd. 7-11,7749 Roosevelt Rd., the May 17 robbery of the White Hen 7860 Madison, and a second robbery at the Roosevelt Rd. 7-11 on May 22.
Earlier Sunday night, just before 3 a.m., the 7-11 at 515 Madison in Oak Park was also robbed at gun point by two men. Between the Oak Park and River Forest robberies, a convenience store in Glen Ellyn was also held up.
Detectives from Oak Park and Forest Park worked with River Forest police through Monday morning to piece the case together.
“It looked like this crew was very active the last ten days,” said Oak Park Deputy Chief of Police Robert Scianna. “We were alerted to them earlier, so we were watching for them.”
Around ninety minutes prior to that Forest Park robbery, two men robbed a 7-11 near Cermak Road and 17th Avenue in North Riverside in the same manner. According to North Riverside Police Chief Tony Garvey, his department recovered some physical evidence in that robbery, evidence which is currently being evaluated by the State Police Crime lab.