Park Ridge man held on $275K in Northwest Side crime spree, DUI

Tribune reporters

A 44-year-old Park Ridge man tried to rob a Northwest Side McDonald's where he had ordered coffee Thursday morning, then went on to make two more robbery attempts before he stole cash during a fourth try, police said.

Nick Kanatselis, 44, was arrested in the 5800 block of West Fullerton Avenue in the Belmont-Central neighborhood after officers spotted him in a car connected with robbery attempts in the area and chased him for a mile, police said.

He was ordered held Saturday on $275,000 bail.

Kanatselis, of the 600 block of Northwest Highway in the northwest suburb, faces charges of robbery, attempted robbery, and possession of marijuana, as well as being cited for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, aggravated fleeing, driving on a revoked license,and having no insurance, police said. Kanatselis also has been charged with domestic battery for punching his girlfriend several times in a separate incident Oct. 6, prosecutors said.

About 7:30 a.m. Thursday, officers in the 4800 block of West Fullerton Avenue saw a car matching the description of one used in at least three Northwest Side robbery attempts, said Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Robert Perez.

The man drove off to try to evade capture, striking several other cars before he jumped from the vehicle in the 5800 block of West Fullerton, Perez said.

Officers chased him on foot and caught him nearby, Perez said.

The man, now identified as Kanatselis, is suspected of three robbery attempts -- only one successful -- at retail stores and an attack on a woman on a sidewalk. The three stores were a McDonald's in the 4000 block of West Belmont Avenue, a CVS in the 3300 block of North Pulaski Road, and a Walgreens in the 4000 block of North Cicero Avenue, police said.

The Park Ridge man's one-man crime spree started about 7 a.m. Thursday when he ordered a coffee at the McDonald's. When a staffer asked if he would like cream or sugar in it, he implied he had a gun in his jacket and said: "Just give me the money," according to a  police report.

The staffer was shocked and began to approach her manager, but the assailant walked around the counter, grabbed her by the back of her sweater and again demanded money, the report said.

Other workers saw the commotion and began yelling at the man. He let her go and fled without cash.

Only minutes later -- at 7:12 a.m. -- he entered the CVS and tried to rob it, but was unsuccessful, so he ran outside, where he pushed a woman in the chest and knocked her to the ground, the report said.

As they wrestled, he started to pull at her backpack but became "startled" by a passerby and fled again in the car, the report said.

His fourth robbery try, police said, was at the Walgreens about 7:20 a.m. when he confronted a cashier who was trying to close a cash drawer.

When he reached over and grabbed money from the drawer, the cashier tried to pull the money from his hand. He ran behind the counter and began hitting her, pushed her into a wall and grabbed the money tray before running out of the store, police said.

Prosecutors said in bond court today that he asked for a pack of Newport cigarettes before grabbing $252 from the cash register.

Once brought into custody a short while later, officers found $223 in his pockets and $40 in a silver Chevrolet 2-door car he'd been driving. He was brought back to the victims, who identified him, according to the report.

Once he was examined at Resurrection Medical Center, authorities found he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, the report said.

This is Kanatselis' fourth arrest this year. In February and May, he was arrested on domestic battery charges, but both cases were dismissed. On Aug. 27, he was arrested on a theft charge and ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bail, but charges were later dropped.

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