Sources close to the investigation say the hair salon robber used a BB gun in a string of hold ups that span the city and suburbs.
Skokie police arrested the suspect Monday hours after a holdup was reported at a Great Clips near Milwaukee and Ashland Avenue in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. In that incident, the suspect brandished what looked like a real gun, demanded money and ran out.
Skokie police will hold a news conference Wednesday on the arrest of the suspect in a series of salon robberies.
The suspect is being held in Skokie where victims are viewing suspect lineups.
Surveillance cameras at the Hair Cuttery in suburban Skokie captured a robbery in progress in January. The suspect in that case also displayed a gun and demanded money from salon employees before leaving.
The man in police custody is suspected in four salon holdups in Chicago, and at least six suburban police departments are comparing notes as they try to finalize charges.
"I think, as of last week, we had four that we believe could be the same person. That's something that helps us because we can get clue from this one and a clue from that one to make a case," Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said.
Although the suspect's name was not being released immediately, ABC7 Chicago is told he is a suburban man.
Investigators say they have been questioning the man trying to piece the web of crimes together.
One customer told ABC7 Chicago went into the Wicker Park Great Clips to get a haircut after Monday's robbery unaware of what had happened, but he noticed investigators in the back of the business.
"I didn't realize it right away," said the customer, John Sorrenson. "I did put two and two together that something happened, but I had no idea what it was. I didn't think about a robbery. I thought maybe there was a customer who got irate and something happened."
No one was harmed in any of the armed robberies, but the crimes targeting the salons have left many salon owners and their workers shaken.
The staff at Professional Hair Designers in Skokie had been nervous since the robberies got underway more than a month ago.
Police gave them a picture of the suspect captured from surveillance video of one of the crimes and advised them to take extra precautions.
"It just never makes you feel safe when something like that happens in your neighborhood so close to your business," said salon owner Veronica Rubbio said.
Chicago police were expected to speak publicly about the case later Tuesday.