Suburban Cops Catch 'Hair Salon Bandit', May be Suspect in Wicker Park Robbery
Suburban investigators said late Monday that they arrested a man who may be to blame for several hair salon burglaries in and around Chicago. Hours after a Wicker Park robbery earlier that day, city cops didn't deny that incidents could be connected.
Suburban police issued a statement late Monday night saying they believed they had "the hair salon bandit" in custody.
Behind the arrest was the Skokie Police Department, which was collaborating with several area departments to identify the man responsible for the armed incidents in and around Chicago—the most recent of which occured Monday morning at a Great Clips in Wicker Park. The department issued a news release around 9:45 p.m. regarding the arrest.
At that time, the suspect was still being questioned, they said, and his name had yet to be released. They noted that several detectives from area jurisdictions were working to follow up on their investigative leads.
Although Chicago police couldn't confidently report that the same culprit is responsible for a string of recent hair salon robberies in and around the city, representatives said it's a possibility they're looking into.
The latest incident occurred around 10:45 a.m. Monday at a Great Clips in the 1200 block of North Ashland Avenue in Wicker Park. Just like the other Chicago robberies, it included a man who stands at about 6 feet tall and weighs around 200 pounds, police have said. He is between 35 and 45 years old.
His modus operandi? Threatening a hair salon employee—typically at a chain, such as Great Clips or Supercuts—using a handgun to steal cash before getting away in seconds.
In multiple cases, he's wearing a red, "puffy" jacket and a black skull cap, according to police. At least nine hair salon robberies have been reported in the area since late December—four in Lincoln Park, one in Wicker Park, two in Skokie, one in Niles and one in Broadview.
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Authorities say similar robberies have occurred in Bensenville, Lombard, Glen Ellyn and Morton Grove, according to a report by Skokie Patch.
"We started locking our doors on Monday," Skokie Hair Cuttery stylist Dyana Kheyo told Patch at the end of January. "We're terrified. Our customers are terrified. They know what's been going on. It's been all over the news."
Skokie police officer Joe Marzigliano said the offender was likely targeting chain hair salons because they are primarily cash businesses.
"No doubt about it, this guy is very bold," Marzigliano said. "He's hitting a few suburbs. It's not just Skokie and Niles."
A witness to a Jan. 23 robbery at a Broadview Hair Cuttery, 118 Broadview Square, told Patch she recognized the suspect from photos she'd seen on TV.
"It was the same guy I saw in the news," stylist Lisa Burke said, in reference to the robber. "It was definitely him."
The North Side cases remained under investigation Monday afternoon, Chicago police representatives said. They didn't confirm a common suspect among them, but weren't ruling it out, either.
"I mean, people want to jump to that," said Chicago Police News Affairs officer Veejay Zala. "It's very possible. But we have to do our due diligence and let the detectives do their jobs. It's a little premature (in the Wicker Park robbery). It just occurred a few hours ago. That's not to say it's not possible. I'm sure the detectives are looking into it."
Skokie Patch Editor George Slefo contributed to this report.
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