Halloween masks used in robbery outside high school

Tribune reporter

A 15-year-old high school freshman was robbed on Halloween outside his West Rogers Park school by three guys wearing masks who made off with his iPod, according to police and the boy’s mother.

“He was so scared,’’ according to his mother, Lily Cloyne, who said her son Matthew was not hurt physically but was shaken up and didn’t want to go back to school.

After attending an after-school program at Mather, he was waiting for the bus outside the school on Lincoln Avenue near Francisco Avenue about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when three male robbers wearing matching masks that were black, brown and beige, surrounded him, Cloyne said.

Cloyne said her son was wearing ear buds from his iPod when they confronted him and asked him what he was listening to. They seemed to want his backpack but demanded and took the iPod before fleeing.

According to a police report, Matthew felt threatened when the three, wearing Halloween masks, asked him what he had in his pockets while crowding around him and blocking his way.

They began taunting him, saying: “Go ahead; try to run,’’ Cloyne said. “They kind of bullied him."

“I’m just happy that he handed over his iPod and didn’t open his mouth,’’ she said. “He was really psychologically scared."

Her son didn’t want to go back to school and he stayed home the next day. Cloyne drove him to school today and will do so, she said, until he feels comfortable again.

He still had a cell phone in his pocket so he used it to call police, who got there and drove around with him for a while to try and find the three, but didn’t.

Cloyne said Matthew is upset that the iPod, a Christmas gift from his father, was stolen.

In an unrelated robbery that took place a day before, an 81-year-old man was choked, beaten and punched by a group of attackers, one of whom is 14, near the victim’s home in the South Chicago neighborhood on the Far South Side, police said.

It happened in the 9100 block of South Commercial Avenue as the victim returned to his home and saw three males standing on a fire escape outside his apartment, according to a police report.

As the man tried to close the door to the fire escape, the three punched him and wrapped their hands around his neck, choking him even after he fell to the ground, the report said.

As they held him, they went through his pockets, taking his keys, wallet, ID card, $300 and a voter’s registration card, the report said.

The attack left his body swollen, and he suffered an abrasion to his lip and nose and a sore back, but he declined to be taken to a hospital, the report said.

A bystander called police, who placed a 14-year-old boy under arrest, but two other attackers fled.

It was not immediately known if the boy was charged with anything.

During another unrelated attack, a woman was robbed of her iPhone at gunpoint while riding the inbound CTA Orange Line on Thursday about 5:45 p.m. She had pulled out the iPhone to answer it but after she put it away, one of three robbers asked her if they could use it. 

She told them she didn’t have one, repeatedly, and when she exited the train at Quincy and Wells the three approached her from behind and pushed her up against the wall, according to a police report.

She felt something in her back when one of them said: "Just give me your backpack,’’ the report said. She turned around and saw a silver handgun pointed at her and she gave them the pack. The three ran southbound on Wells Street, laughing, the report said.

Early Thursday in the Lincoln Park neighborhood a 26-year-old man grabbed one robber by the hair to try and defend himself but ended up “throwing’’ his computer tablet at his assailants during another armed robbery in the 2100 block of North Stockton Avenue at 12:20 a.m., police said.

The victim was waiting for a bus when a man exited an SUV and approached him.

According to a police report, that assailant was 16-19 years old, about 5-foot-5 and 140 pounds, wearing a hooded sweat shirt.

With his hands in his pockets, he said: “Give me your phone, I have a gun,’’ the report said.

The man threw the tablet at him, causing the robber to start punching him, but the victim grabbed the man by the hair and threw him against the bus stop window, the report said.

A second attacker, about the same age but bigger, exited the SUV and joined in the fight, but the victim ran into Lincoln Park. A third man in the SUV began to run after the victim but could not catch him, the report said. The trio fled northbound on Stockton in the SUV, the report said.

The man was not injured and the tablet was not found.


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