A woman was robbed at gun point Nov. 20 in the parking lot near Starbucks Coffee and Robeks Juice at 840 S. Waukegan Road in west Lake Forest, according to city police.
The crime took place at 4:08 p.m. while the victim was seated in her vehicle in front of an empty retail store two doors west of Starbucks. Police said a masked suspect approached the woman in her vehicle, opened the car door and demanded her diamond. The suspect was reportedly armed with a dark semi-automatic hand gun and a stun gun. The police reported the suspect threatened to use the stun gun on the woman if she did not comply with his demands, which she did and was not injured.
The suspect took three rings, but one was recovered at the scene of the crime. Police estimated the stolen goods to be worth $15,000. The suspect is reported to be a white male
with no accent who is described as being 5 ' 10" and wearing dark clothing with a ski mask over his face. After the robbery, the victim watched as the suspect ran south through the parking lot. Police said a witness reported seeing a person who matched this description run at high speed up the hill, across the tracks at West Lake Forest Train Station and into a dark-colored sedan, which then headed south on Telegraph Road. It is not known if the suspect was alone.
"I'm afraid it's a sign of our economic times," Lake Forest Deputy Chief Glenn Burmeister told GazeboNews. He said the victim had been running errands before she was robbed. A Starbucks employee who asked for anonymity said the victim had been in the Starbucks prior to the crime and that she was alone in her car and talking on the cell phone when the robbery occurred. Police investigated the Starbucks surveillance cameras and confirmed the victim had been in the coffee shop, but the cameras did not show any images of her assailant.
Deputy Chief Burmeister said yesterday's robbery is not linked to the robbery of a Jimmy John's employee earlier this fall. The teen-aged suspects in that case were apprehended. "The only commonality is that the businesses are in the same location," he said. "It's a growing business area in the west side of Lake Forest, in close proximity to the train station."
The story of the armed robbery near Starbucks is spreading fast through the community, but coffee lovers did not appear to be swayed. At 2:15 p.m. Friday, the Starbucks steamer was churning, every seat was occupied, and the line at the counter was three-people deep.
Also yesterday, Lake Forest police arrested a Michigan woman suspected of phoning in a bomb threat on Nov. 4 to a business on the 600 block of Field Drive in Lake Forest. "It was the girlfriend of an ex-employee who found out the ex-employee was married, and she didn't like that," Deputy Chief Burmeister said, adding that the suspect was surprised to learn the man no longer worked for the business. "The business was out a lot of money," he added, "because they evacuated and didn't re-open the entire time."
The police are urging all residents to take precautions. Please visit the LFPD's website for an alert titled: "Don't let a crook ruin your holidays!" Here is a summary of the alert:
- Lock all doors and windows when you leave, even if for a few minutes
- Store gifts where they can't be seen from a window or doorway
- If out for the evening, turn on lights and a radio or television so the house appears to be occupied
- Shop before dark, if possible, or coordinate trips with a friend
- Never park in an unlit lot or area, no matter how convenient it appears
- Lock all packages in your vehicle's trunk and keep windows closed and doors locked
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use check or credit card for all purchases
- Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse under your arm and a wallet in an inside jacket pocket, not a back trouser pocket.