Store owner shot during attempted robbery

January 2, 2009 5:17:05 PM PST
A store owner was shot during an attempted robbery on the city's Northwest Side. The victim, who has not been identified, is in critical condition at Illinois Masonic Hospital after being shot multiple times. . Witnesses say he was alone in the store, Wholesale Concepts, located at 4467 West Lawrence, when the men tried to rob him.

Police appear to be looking for two teenage suspects. Police are still combing the Wholesale Concept store for evidence on Friday evening after the store owner was shot in an attempted robbery just before 3:00 p.m.

"About 20 cop cars came to the front. We were wondering what was going on. I went to the front. Cop said stay inside. I got curious so I ran to the back. And there's three cops back there. They were looking for I guess two guys between the ages of 16 and 19, taller guy and one shorter than the other guy. They tried robbing the store two doors down. The guys came in the store because he buzzed them in. They put on masks. He tried kicking them out and I guess with a small caliber weapon, they opened fire right at him," said Keith Crothers, witness, who works at the liquor store next door.

It appears the offenders put on ski masks or otherwise covered their faces after being buzzed into the store so there may be no clear physical description of them.

This is not the first time neighborhood businesses have been the target of criminal activity.

"Ten, twelve years ago the currency exchange was shot and killed before they did move the currency to the corner. The Blockbuster video store which is now shut down, apparently they've been robbed several times, too. I'm not too sure about the liquor store but I know there have been mean people in there causing problems to the owners," said Cheryl Cassidy, witness.

The Wholesale Concept store has been there for some three to four years and it's not clear whether they had previous problems. However, the only way to get into the store was to be buzzed in. And, unfortunately, this precaution wasn't able to stop the shooting.