An armed man who is suspected of holding up Palos Heights electronics store gave himself up peacefully to police after an hour-long standoff in Oak Lawn, cops said.
The drama unfolded in Oak Lawn at approximately 3 p.m. Wednesday when dozens of cops and other law enforcement agencies swarmed a quiet neighborhood near 96th Street and LaCross Avenue, looking for a male black in his forties wearing a gray hoodie.
Division Chief Michael Kaufmann, of the Oak Lawn Police Department, said in recent weeks that a string of Radio Shack stores were robbed in the south suburbs.
Police had given information to the Oak Lawn Radio Shack last week, when a man matching the robbery suspect’s description walked into the store at 4819 W. 95th St. on Wednesday afternoon.
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“The girl was very sharp. Right away she knew something wasn’t right,” Kaufmann said of the employee. “She told someone to call 911, saying, ‘I think we’re going to get robbed.’”
When the man saw police arriving, he took off running on foot. An Oak Lawn tactical officer chased the man to a home on the 4800 block of West 96th Street, where the alleged robbery suspect forced his way into a rear stairwell.
“He went and hid in a back stairwell in a house and was holding a gun. At that point it turned into a standoff,” Kaufmann said.
Kaufmann wouldn’t confirm reports if the man was holding the barrel of the gun in his mouth, only to say the man had a weapon and was threatening police officers. Other law enforcement agencies were called in, including the South Suburban Emergency Response Team and a police hostage barricade team.
“After an hour negotiating with one of our detectives, he threw his out his gun and came out and surrendered,” Kaufmann said. “Nobody was harmed and nobody was hurt.”
An emergency notification alert was sent out by the village to residents and businesses in the area, telling people to remain inside. Police also notified the principals of Sward Elementary School and which were placed on lockdown.
Youngsters at Sward told Patch that they were told to “shelter in place.” Students were being released to their parents only, a mom said.
Police believe the man taken into custody is responsible for robbing the Radio Shack at 1901 S. Harlem Ave. in Palos Heights at approximately 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Palos Heights police said that a man walked into the store where two employees were working and produced a handgun. One of the employees ran out the back door and the other stayed behind.
The gunman allegedly ordered the employee who stayed behind to give him money. After taking an unknown amount of cash, Palos Heights police said he ran out the back door and got into a vehicle where he is believed to have driven to Oak Lawn.
Palos Heights police believe the man arrested in Oak Lawn is the same suspect in the Palos Heights Radio Shack robbery. Police are investigating as well as others in the south suburbs.
The name of the man in custody has not yet been released because of pending charges. Kaufmann said because the robbery occurred in Palos Heights, it may fall under Palos Heights police jurisdiction.
Palos Patch editor Nick Swedberg contributed to this report.