A U.S. Navy recruit was robbed at knife-point on the bike path in Lake Bluff the morning of Sept. 6.
Lake Bluff Police Chief William Gallagher told GazeboNews the sailor was walking on the path south of the Great Lakes Naval Station when an African-American male in his late-30s/40s emerged from a wooded
area, displayed a knife and asked for money. After the Naval recruit handed over his money, the assailant fled through the woods to Sheridan Road and left the scene in an older-model burgundy sedan. The victim was not physically hurt.
A Lake Bluff resident witnessed the robbery and immediately called 911. The witness corroborated the nature of the crime as well as the descriptions of the assailant and get-away car, said Chief Gallagher.
"This is a random act," Chief Gallagher said. "We have no other record of it occurring (on the bike path)." He said a previous bike-path allegation proved to be inaccurate. He also said Saturday's incident is not related to an as-yet unsolved armed robbery that took place near Shore Acres Country Club on Feb. 1, 2007. In that case, a man was robbed at gun-point while he was taking his dog for an evening walk.
"The descriptions of the perpetrators are different," said Chief Gallagher. "And this individual used a knife, while the other one used a gun."
Though the Lake Bluff police consider the recent robbery incidents to be unrelated, the crimes have two things in common: Money appears to have been the motive, and the victims were not physically hurt. In the Shore Acres case, the victim had no money on him when he was approached from behind on Shore Acres road, so the suspect escorted him back to his residence, where he took credit cards and $68 in cash before fleeing on foot, according to Crime Stoppers. The assailant in Saturday's bike path crime made off with $40.
When asked if children and teenagers are safe on the bike path, Chief Gallagher said he doesn't think kids are at risk. "He just wanted someone who was alone," he said of the bike path suspect. "This is the type of incident where the individual was clearly looking to extract money from somebody. There would be no logic doing this to a child."
He said he is taking the incident very seriously; that police departments from Lake Bluff, Great Lakes and North Chicago have put a special watch on the bike-path area; and that Saturday's incident is under investigation.
Residents who have information on any crime are urged to call
Crime Stoppers at 847-662-2222, where they can leave messages
anonymously and earn up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is community program
that tries to get the public involved in the fight on crime.