Crossdressing muggers charged in Lincoln Park assaults

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Michael T. Burns (top) and Brandon D. Arnold

Two men dressed as women were charged with mugging a teenage girl Friday as she walked near Lincoln Park Zoo, only minutes after they allegedly assaulted another pedestrian and tried to take his wallet, prosecutors said.

Brandon Arnold, 24, of the 6800 block of South Aberdeen Street, and roommate Michael Burns, 21, appeared in Cook County Central Bond Court charged with robbery and attempted armed robbery, both sporting long, styled hair and gray leggings. Their bond was set at $100,000 each.


Court records say the pair approached a 16-year-old girl as she walked past an alley in the 2300 block of North Lincoln Park West around 2:24 p.m.

Arnold asked the girl for directions, then raised a can of pepper spray and said, "Give me your camera or I'll mace you." The girl gave up her camera, then Arnold allegedly demanded the girl's iPhone and ran off with Brandon down Fullerton Avenue.


Five minutes earlier, prosecutors said Arnold and Burns had attacked a man about half a mile away in the 2600 block of North Cannon Drive.

The victim said one of the men grabbed him from behind and tried to take his wallet, but the man was able to wrestle free.

"When I turned around, one was holding the can of mace, but it must have jammed or it didn't work," the victim said.

The man took off running with Arnold and Burns giving chase. The two alleged muggers gave up as the victim outran them. When he had enough distance from this attackers, the man called police on his cell phone.

The teenage victim was following her attackers down Fullerton when a squad car responding to the first victim's call arrived. Burns and Arnold dropped the phone and camera in some bushes, then dropped the can of pepper spray, court records said.

"It wasn't funny at all," the male victim said Saturday. "These guys attacked two people, minutes apart, in broad daylight in the park."