Three men accused of robbing a pair of grocery store employees at gunpoint were tracked to an apartment in Berwyn where authorities allegedly recovered two handguns and dozens of bullets.
Just after midnight on Sept. 8, police were called to the Ultra Foods grocery store on Roosevelt Road where two men were reporting the robbery. Both of the alleged victims work at the store, one as an armed security guard.
According to a police report, the robbery occurred along the 1000 block of Lathrop while the two men were walking toward the Desplaines Avenue terminal to catch the Blue Line. They allegedly heard someone come running toward them from behind, and a man pulled a black handgun and told them not to move. The victims told police they recognized one of the three men committing the robbery as a former co-worker who was recently fired for stealing from the grocery store.
The three suspects quickly took the security guard’s 9mm gun, along with two magazines loaded with 16 rounds each. An iPhone and a wallet were also taken, according to the report.
The suspects allegedly told the store employee who is not a security guard that the robbery “got nothing to do with you,” and threw his possessions to the ground. The victims were allegedly ordered to remove their shoes and run from the area, or they would be shot.
After hiding in a nearby gangway, the victims returned for their shoes and ran back to the grocery store to report the incident.
A store employee provided police with two addresses for 21-year-old Devonate Hannah, the former employee who, according to the police report, was recognized by the victims. An Oak Park address yielded nothing, but at the Berwyn address police saw three men fitting the descriptions that had been broadcast to area departments. Darrell Wilson, 19, and Lamont Pinson, 24, both of Chicago, were taken into custody along with Hannah. The report said a search of the apartment turned up the gun used to commit the robbery, as well as the weapon taken from the security guard.
Burglar doesn’t get far
A 52-year-old man suspected of breaking into an apartment on the 7400 block of Dixon didn’t put up a fight when police found him sitting on the couch at the alleged crime scene. Their suspect, Michael Vassar, was in obvious pain after having broken his leg while climbing through a bedroom window.
The tenant of the garden apartment called police shortly before 6 p.m. Sept. 11 when he arrived home and saw that an air-conditioning unit in his bedroom window was missing. Fearing a burglary, he rushed inside and found Vassar standing in the bedroom, according to a department report. The two men made eye contact and Vassar made a half-hearted attempt at climbing back through the window, but could barely stand. While the tenant called police, Vassar simply took a seat on the couch.
Initially, Vassar claimed he had been attacked by “some guys” and managed to escape by breaking into the apartment. However, police learned a laptop was missing from the apartment and questioned Vassar further. While being treated by paramedics called to the scene, Vassar allegedly told police he was about to make a clean getaway when he realized his cellphone had fallen out his pocket in the apartment bedroom. He hid the computer in the bushes, went back through the window to retrieve his phone, and broke his leg when he landed.
Teen saves heroin for his grief
While checking into a suspicious vehicle parked outside of Walgreens, at 7200 Roosevelt, police recovered, according to a department report, a small amount of heroin and marijuana from three Woodridge teens.
At about 4:20 p.m. Sept. 6, authorities saw a gray Ford sedan outside the store. When an officer began walking toward the car, a passenger fled into the store. Meanwhile, in plain view in the car’s center console were several small, empty plastic bags and a loaded syringe.
While an officer continued to investigate the car and talk to the two remaining teens, a Walgreens employee came out and said someone appeared to be trying to hide inside. A second officer went into the store and saw 17-year-old Matthew Valuch head for a bathroom. Valuch was arrested for obstructing the responding officer’s investigation. According to the police report, a quick search revealed several small bags of heroin, a glass pipe with marijuana residue, and about 2 grams of marijuana.
Valuch’s companions were released without charges. The report about this incident says that while at the station, Valuch told police he had kicked his addiction to heroin, but returned to the drug after the recent anniversary of his mother’s death.
These items were taken from the records of the Forest Park Police Department between Sept. 6 and Sept. 13, and represent only a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Anyone named in this report has only been charged with a crime. The cases have not been adjudicated.
-Compiled by Josh Adams