Robbery suspect killed in police shooting

May 6, 2009 (CHICAGO) The situation started at a Marathon gas station just before 7 a.m. Wednesday morning at the intersection of Montrose and Forest Preserve Drive. Authorities believe the suspect could be responsible for up to 30 hold-ups.

Police say a man came into the Marathon gas station attempting to rob it when he was stopped by a Chicago detective who had been staking the place out. The suspect wore a green sweatshirt, jeans and a surgical mask.

The entire neighborhood, including the Ridgemoor Country Club, was evacuated. The forest preserve was also searched because police thought there was a second robber involved. Eventually, they determined that the man had acted alone.

Police were on alert and had formed a task force with the FBI after about 30 gas stations in the general area were robbed just since April 15. Undercover officers were placed at stations throughout the area just waiting for the robber to strike again.

"The offender exited the gas station with gun in hand. The officers ordered him to drop the weapon, to which he did not. The officers fired, fatally wounding the offender," said Tom Byrne, Chicago police chief of detectives.

Police say it follows a crime spree. The suspect allegedly hit gas stations on the northwest side and surrounding suburbs.

"Guy comes up to the counter, green hoody, surgical mask, puts his items on the counter. I noticed he was wearing gloves and thought nothing of it," said Tammy Iovan, hold-up victim.

She didn't think anything of it until the man pulled out a gun. The police have the gas station surveillance tape of the crime.

"I am trying to calm myself down enough to function. Got the register open. Gave him whatever he had. Asked if he wanted a bag and he left," said Iovan.

"We set up a task force. We didn't feel the community per se was at risk," said Byrne.

Police say they had between 40 to 50 officers working on the case trying to catch the robber in action.

"It was just good police work. And everybody had their eyes open. They had a description of a vehicle that we were looking for. They were able to identify this vehicle. And it was good police work from the start to the end," said Bill Monroe, FBI.

The robber apparently had a pattern of striking about the same time in each case. He took between $200 and $2,000 in that series of robberies.

The police have not released the name of the dead suspect. The shooting was followed by a two-hour search for the second suspect.

In the meantime, the gas station has reopened.

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