This article was updated Dec. 31, 2008
A woman was knocked down, beaten and robbed of a valuable ring in
Wilmette on Saturday. The assailant does not match the description of the masked
ring snatcher suspected in armed robberies in Highland Park and Lake
Forest in November, but the crime is similar. In all three cases, a man
is accused of targeting and following a woman, approaching her in a strip-mall parking lot, demanding jewelry
and fleeing the scene of the crime.
The victim of Saturday's ring heist is a 47-year-old resident of Wilmette, police from that suburb said in a news release. She
had just left a nail salon with her daughter at 6:15 p.m. and was walking to her car
when she was knocked down from behind and battered. The suspect literally removed
a ring that the woman was wearing before fleeing southbound into the
parking lot of a nearby apartment complex. During the assault, the
woman's daughter ran for help, and others came to assist the victim while
the robber fled, Wilmette Deputy Chief Brian King told GazeboNews. He said the ring is valued at $20,000.
Women should not stop wearing jewelry, he said. He does, however, urge all people to be aware of
their surroundings. He said the victim in Saturday's robbery had parked
in an unlit corner of the Wilmette Commons Shopping Center lot at 50 Skokie
Blvd. "There was a power failure so it was the most isolated, darkest
area of the shopping center she could have parked in," he said. "Of course she was not anticipating that someone could have
targeted her for a robbery. Wilmette and Lake Forest are low-crime
areas, but that does not mean they are no-crime." The suspect is described as African American, in his late 20s or
early 30s, and was last seen wearing a white and red baseball hat and a
dark jacket. The suspect in the Lake Forest and Highland Park armed robberies is
described as a white male, 5'10", aged 17-22, and having no accent. The
Highland Park assault
took place in broad daylight on Nov. 26 when a
man wearing a black stocking cap approached a woman who was getting
into her car at 603 Elm Place, threatened her with a stun gun, and
demanded her rings.
The Lake Forest Police Department reported at the time that the
incident had an identical pattern and suspect description as a Lake
Forest armed robbery on Nov. 20. That case occurred at 4:08 p.m. in the
parking lot at 840 S. Waukegan Ave. The woman was
seated in her car when a masked man approached her, opened the door and
demanded her rings. The suspect was reportedly armed with a dark
semi-automatic handgun and a stun gun, which he threatened to use if
she did not comply. She did.
Unlike the woman in the Wilmette
robbery, the Lake Forest and Highland Park victims were not physically
hurt. "The similarity is that he did follow the victim out of a
business and demanded her rings," said Glenn Burmeister, deputy chief
of the Lake Forest Police Department.
Crime victims should not try to fend off their attacker, Deputy Chief King said: "If you are confronted in this type of situation, just comply and try to be a good witness by memorizing details, and call 911 as soon as possible."
He also said that if something or someone looks suspicious, trust your instincts and call 911. If you have any information about any of these assaults, please call:
- Wilmette Police Department: 847-256-1200
- Lake Forest Police Department: 847-234-2601
- Highland Park Police Department: 847-432-7730