A suspect in the July 19 armed robbery and brutal beating of a Forest Park nurse was arrested last Wednesday night in Cicero. Mark A. Goree, 21, of Chicago, was one of two men arrested by Cicero police responding to a call of three armed street robberies in Berwyn.
Goree was charged with four felonies, including armed violence, armed robbery and two counts of aggravated battery in relation to the robbery of Janice Johnson.
It was on a Saturday afternoon in mid-July that Johnson was beaten as she was out behind her Adams Street condo taking her trash to the Dumpster. That afternoon, the 54-year-old nurse was on her way to a hair appointment so she could look her best at a high school reunion in Naperville the next day.
But Johnson never made it to the reunion because a man put a gun in her face, pistol-whipped her to the ground, kicked her and threatened several times to shoot her, Johnson had told the Review back in July.
Johnson required several staples to close a wound on the back of her scalp and had a concussion, bruises, scrapes, and a massive contusion on her hip.
On Thursday, Johnson, who still is recovering from the attack, was brought in to the Berwyn police station to see a lineup.
“She was adamant about it being him,” Forest Park Detective Sergeant Mike Keating said of Johnson identifying Goree. “She picked him out right away.”
Goree then made a statement implicating himself in the attack on Johnson.
Keating said Goree’s apprehension ends a frustrating two months of searching by his department.
The Johnson robbery was similar to one three days earlier, in which a dark blue Chevy Impala bearing license plates beginning with an “X” was used. Both Forest Park and Oak Park police began looking for the car. They also had an area to focus upon- in two of the three robberies, the credit cards stolen were used at a south side Chicago gas station.
“We worked with Oak Park on this. We spent a lot of time on the south side of Chicago looking for this car,’ said Keating. However, the robberies stopped. Forest Park investigators sent out a bulletin to 126 other police departments, seeking to learn of any similar robberies.
“We didn’t have other robberies for two months,” said Keating.
Complicating things was the huge list of possible cars sent back from the Illinois Secretary of State as part of a license search.
“We basically got a phone book back,” said Keating. “The (robbery) car pretty much fell off the face of the earth.”
Then around 10 p.m. last Wednesday, Sept. 10, Berwyn had three similar robberies within ten minutes of each other. Shortly after 10 p.m. an Oak Park detective responding to a report of an armed robbery at Buona Beef in Berwyn was waved down by the victim of a street robbery. A witness then gave the detective a description of the car used in the robbery, a silver or grey Dodge Charger. That description was radioed to other municipalities, and the car was spotted on the 4700 block of Roosevelt Road shortly before 11 p.m. One suspect ran from the car, but Goree and 17-year-old Martise Bloodson, both of the 5300 block of W. Van Buren, were arrested.
Goree also reportedly told police he’d used a dark blue Chevy in previous robberies.
Besides the charges lodged by Forest Park police, Goree is being investigated for possible roles in crimes in Oak Park and Berwyn. Oak Park Detectives Commander Clemet Harbour asked that a mug shot of Goree not be published in the media, saying his investigators intend to interview Goree about his alleged role in at least two armed street robberies in Oak Park in July and place him in line ups.