Four suspects are in custody following Thursday’s armed robbery in Flossmoor and a 40-mile chase ending in north suburban Park Ridge.
A day later, as law enforcement agencies sorted out the details of the incident and looked ahead to possible criminal charges, it was increasingly clear that the arrests were never a sure thing.
A number of factors fell into place, said Tod Kamleiter, Flossmoor’s deputy police chief.
“First, the victim remained calm,” he said. “She got in touch with our police department right away and we were able to get her statement. She gave us a very good description of the vehicle.”
After that, it was mostly a case of good police work, Kamleiter said.
When the suspect’s vehicle – a four-door silver-colored Chevrolet – went through the intersection of 183rd Street and Kedzie Avenue, Homewood police officers identified it as possibly the car from the Flossmoor robbery. Two Homewood police cars started following the Chevrolet southbound on Kedzie.
“They did a fantastic job,” Kamleiter said of the Homewood officers.
At Flossmoor Road, the Homewood officers tried to stop the car but it fled south. The chase continued west on U.S. Route 30, onto northbound I-57 and then I-294. Police units from Matteson and Chicago Heights joined the pursuit.
By the time the suspects exited I-294, at Dempster Avenue near Lutheran General Hospital, police units from multiple jurisdictions were also chasing the Chevrolet. So was the Cook County Sheriff’s Police helicopter; Kamleiter said it was of crucial importance during the pursuit.
“After they got off I-294, the police units briefly lost sight of the vehicle,” he said. “They had ditched the car and were fleeing on foot. But the helicopter was able to spot them.”
The two Homewood police cars took part in the pursuit all the way to Park Ridge, Kamleiter said.
All four male suspects – three juveniles and one adult – were arrested near the hospital parking lot. As of midday Friday, they had not been charged, Kamleiter said.
The incident began about 1 p.m. Thursday. The victim was headed into a medical office building in the 3200 block of Vollmer Road. The Chevrolet pulled up to her in the parking lot and one of the suspects got out. He displayed a small semiautomatic handgun and demanded her purse. She complied with the demand and the suspect got back in the car, which headed westbound on Vollmer. She immediately went into the medical office building and called the police.
A short time later, the car was spotted in Homewood and the pursuit began.
Kamleiter said the car also matches the description of a vehicle that was involved in a shooting incident in Chicago Heights earlier on Thursday. By the time the robbery occurred, Chicago Heights police had already sent out a description of the vehicle.
During the pursuit through Matteson, it appears that the Chevrolet had a collision with another vehicle. Kamleiter said there was damage to both sides of the suspect’s car but had no further details.
There was “nothing exceptional” about the actual pursuit of the Chevrolet along the interstates, Kamleiter said.
“All chases like this are dangerous,” he said. “It’s important that officers always have visual contact with the vehicle that’s being pursued while maintaining conditions that are as safe as possible for other drivers.” He said Flossmoor police were in constant communication with police agencies taking part in the pursuit until it finally ended.
Both the handgun from the robbery and the victim’s purse were recovered from the car.
“It all worked out,” Kamleiter said. “We are especially glad that no one was hurt.”