Wicker Park Robber Was Heartbroken, Wanted Cops to Kill Him: Prosecutors

By Darryl Holliday and Erin Meyer  on February 21, 2013 12:50pm  | Updated on February 21, 2013 5:46pm

DOUGLAS — A man who allegedly robbed more than a dozen city businesses needed money to buy things for a woman he was in love with, police said Thursday.

When the unidentified girlfriend jilted Jesus Rosas, who allegedly robbed 16 city businesses, a despondent Rosas tried to get police to kill him, police said.

An uncle of Rosas said he thinks Rosas and the ex-girlfriend had met at work.

"He would give her money, things like pay her cell phone bill," said the uncle, Abel Rosas.

Early Wednesday, an officer shot Rosas after police chased him from a robbery on the Near North Side to the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues in Wicker Park. There, Rosas, 23, tried to run over four officers with his car, police said.

"In fear for his life" the officer shot Rosas in the arm as he sped toward the cops, police said. After being shot, Rosas crashed into a parked car on Milwaukee.

"The troubling part of this investigation was that he wanted police to kill him,"  Chicago Police Cmdr. Anthony Riccio said at police headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. "He said he didn't want to kill himself."

Rosas was taken to Stroger Hospital for his injuries, authorities said.

Rosas, who faces nine armed robbery charges, two charges of attempted armed robbery, four counts of attempted murder and four charges of assault to a police officer with a motor vehicle, was ordered held without bond Thursday.

While detectives declined to elaborate on some details of the police-involved shooting, Sgt. Edward Wodnicki confirmed that Rosas was carrying a steel replica of a semi-automatic weapon. The gun was capable of firing soft pellets.

"He tried to run four officers over, so whatever his intention was ... let's just be clear on who this guy is," Riccio said.

The uncle, Abel Rosas, described Rosas as "a good guy, humble" but a man who "didn't keep many friends."

"He's not violent, he's calm," added the uncle.

According to police, Rosas had been spotted several times on videotape casing the locations of his robberies. He would pick up a bottle in the store, drink from it, stick the place up and then leave the bottle behind, they said.

Rosas had no criminal record or gang affiliation, which initially made it difficult for police to identify him using prints from the bottles left behind, police said.

He wore the same clothes in his robberies, worked alone and robbed stores with late hours such as Subway restaurants, Quiznos and a CVS, police said.

"He ended up telling us he just thought they were easy," Wodnicki said.

According to Andrew Rudd, a store director at the Chatham Food 4 Less where Rosas worked as recently as Monday, the alleged robberies came as "a real surprise" to everyone.

"I still can't believe it," he said. "We usually don't rehire people but we rehired him recently."

Rudd said Rosas was well-liked and playful, quite unlike the standard image of an alleged serial robber.

"He wasn't like that here — he was always laughing, making jokes," he said.

Detectives said Rosas confessed to the robberies, which ranged from $74 to $850 per hit.

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