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Accused Barbershop Bandit Is Out-of-Work Chef with Crack Habit: Authorities

By  Quinn Ford and Emily Morris | February 6, 2013 10:36am | Updated on February 6, 2013 1:49pm

SKOKIE — The alleged Barbershop Bandit terrorizing Chicago area hair salons is a BB gun-toting, out-of-work chef who is enrolled at a fancy cooking school, authorities said.

And, according to the judge who ordered him held without bail after he was nabbed in Skokie, he's got a crack habit and targeted salons because he thought women were easier to rob.

Jason Logsdon, 41, of Evanston, was charged with 10 counts of armed robbery in the stickups, in which he targeted at least four salons in Chicago and more in the suburbs, according to the Cook County States Attorney's Office. 

Cook County Judge Marcia Orr, in denying bond Wednesday, said Logsdon is accused of targeting salons where no men were working because he thought women would be easier targets.

The judge also said Logsdon's crimes were not "spur of the moment." Instead, the judge said Logsdon told authorities he needed the money to feed his "crack-cocaine habit."

Skokie Police originally said Logsdon would be charged with 11 counts of armed robbery, but prosecutors did not include one robbery that occurred in Broadview.

Logsdon is registered as a student at Le Cordon Bleu College in Chicago and was expecting to graduate in February, according to Cook County Public Defender Leslie Rogoff.

Rogoff said he has been unemployed in recent months but had worked "on and off" as a chef before that. Rogoff argued Logsdon should not be held without bail because he had no history of violent crime.

In a Skokie courtroom Wednesday, Logsdon bowed and shook his head as prosecutors told Cook County Judge Marcia Orr about his alleged spree.

He's suspected of committing about 15 armed robberies since Dec. 26, though Skokie police said detectives are still investigating cases in other suburbs.

In all but one of the robberies, the stickup man pulled a BB gun on workers and demanded cash before fleeing the stores, according to court documents. Witnesses said Logsdon used a black handgun to rob a Hair Cuttery in Skokie on Dec. 27, documents said.

He allegedly made off with about $250 from a Great Clips at 1238 N. Ashland Ave. in Wicker Park on Monday morning. He held up the salon in front of about three people before fleeing northbound on Ashland Avenue in a gray sedan, cops said.

He's also suspected of hitting a Great Clips at 1005 W. Webster Ave. in Lincoln Park for cash on Jan. 29, as well as sticking up two salons in the 1200 and 1300 blocks of West Fullerton Avenue in December, authorities said.

No injuries were reported in the robberies, cops added.

Aside from a 2003 DUI in Missouri, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Elena Gottreich said Logsdon did not have a criminal record.

Following the Wicker Park robbery, a witness was able to catch the license plate number of the getaway car Logsdon was driving, Skokie Police Commander of Investigations Brian Baker said at a news conference in Skokie Wednesday.

Logsdon was arrested by Skokie Police on Monday night, police said.

"He was very cordial, very polite" while in custody, Baker said of Logsdon.

Though he is charged with robbing scores of hair salons, cops said it's the traffic violations that helped pin him down.

Authorities said a Chicago Police Officer was able to match the plate to a description of the getaway car. Skokie Police then ran the license plate and found that a man matching the description of the robber had been pulled over multiple times for minor traffic violations in that car in the past two years before the robberies began.

Baker said witnesses viewed photos of Logsdon and positively identified him as the robber. Logsdon was pulled over in Elmhurst while driving the car used in the robberies and arrested, Baker said.

Baker said Logsdon stole between $100 and $800 in each robbery. In the past 41 days, there have been 15 similar armed robberies, Baker said, adding Logsdon is not currently being charged with all 15 robberies.

The car Logsdon was driving when he was pulled over, a 2011 Nissan Ultima, did not belong to him but to a woman who prosecutors identified as Logsdon's girlfriend. Police said Logsdon used that car during the robberies but said Logsdon's girlfriend was unaware of the robberies. 

"We're very confident we have the right person," Baker said.

"This is the way a case should occur," said Tom Byrne, chief of detectives for Chicago Police Department. Byrne said it was a coordinated effort between multiple police departments that led to the arrest, but ultimately, police needed "the community to come forward."

"We have a witness that comes forward and does the right thing," he said.

Logsdon's girlfriend could not be reached at her Evanston residence Wednesday afternoon, but neighbors who lived in the building said they recognized Logsdon as the woman's boyfriend and said they had heard the news of his arrest.

One neighbor who did not provide her name said she saw Logsdon coming and going from the apartment.

"He didn't look like someone that belonged here," she said, adding he looked a "little rough around the edges."

Logsdon is set to appear in court next on February 20.