A Loyola University cafeteria worker was ordered held on $325,000 bail Sunday on charges that he conspired in the robbery of the dining hall early Friday and, after being arrested, attacked two police officers and tried to escape a police station holding cell.
Martell E. Howze, 25, was charged with two counts of aggravated battery of a peace officer and one count attempted escape from a penal institution, officials said, in addition to his initial charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping. Prosecutors said he worked at the cafeteria, at the Damen Student Center, 6511 N. Sheridan Road, and spent months planning the heist with Rodrick L. Moore, 31, who was ordered held on $150,000 bail in a Saturday bond court hearing.
According to his arrest report, Moore, of the 6200 block of South Michigan Avenue, approached a 39-year-old female cafeteria worker and displayed what appeared to be a handgun after the dining center had closed. He then grabbed the woman by the arm and placed the supposed gun to her head, forcing her to remove more than $2,800 and place it in his backpack. Moore also took the worker's cellphone and keys belonging to the university before fleeing, the report said.
The worker pulled a fire alarm to alert authorities to the crime, records show, and described the robber to Loyola police. Officers soon found Moore at the nearby Loyola Red Line “L” stop and he had the money from the safe in his backpack, prosecutors said.
Police found the weapon, which turned out to be a replica, and the keys and phone were found discarded at or near the station, according to the arrest report. Moore admitted to the robbery and was identified by the victim, police said.
While searching Moore's possessions at the police station, officers found paperwork belonging to Howze that led them to believe he was a co-conspirator. In court Saturday, prosecutors said the pair had been planning the robbery for months and that Howze, of the 200 block of East 89th Place, provided Moore with information about the building's layout and tips for getting past security.
Howze was wearing a jacket with a drawstring when he arrived at the holding cell on the Northwest Side, officials said. When Howze requested a sandwich late Friday night, one of the detention officers noticed the drawstring and told Howze that he would have to remove it for safety, officials said.
When the officer attempted to remove it, Howze hit him in the head with his fist and tried to run out of the cell, Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dibler said. Howze collided with another officer who responded to the commotion and they both fell to the ground, a police report says. Howze bit the first officer in the arm and the second officer sustained a right knee injury, according to the report.
After Howze was subdued, he and one of the two officers were taken to the hospital. The officer was in good condition. Howze initially complained of trouble breathing.
Tribune reporters Carlos Sadovi, Patrick Svitek and Mitch Smith contributed.
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