CHICAGO — When real estate broker Gary Dailey left a crowded fireworks show on the Near North Side and heard a woman screaming that her phone had been stolen, he said his only choice was to go after the robber.
Dailey said he chased a man, later identified as 18-year-old Quejuan Henley, until cops could arrest him in the 1200 block of Lake Shore Drive Thursday night. The teen was one of two men who police said stole cell phones in the area during the Fourth of July.
Dailey, 51, was leaving Oak Street Beach just after 9:30 p.m. and headed to the tunnel near Division Street when he noticed a crowd of nearly 50 people stalled at the edge of the walkway, he said.
But Dailey was tired, and he said "screw it" as he pushed past the people, he said.
As he went, a group of men crowded around him, and one of them reached into the pocket that held his iPhone, Dailey said.
After Dailey swatted his hand away and swore at him, the man backed off, Dailey said.
Dailey kept going and was about to leave the tunnel when he heard a woman scream. He then saw a young man in a tight red shirt rip the phone from the woman's hand, he said.
The woman threw a water bottle a the man, saying he had stolen her cell phone, and that someone should go after him.
The man sprinted right past Dailey.
"I was going to try to trip him, but he got by so quick my only choice was to chase after him," Dailey said.
Dailey chased him for nearly four blocks and tried to call 911 before the suspect doubled back and headed southbound for Division, he said.
"I saw a bunch of squad cards and lights," Dailey said. "I pointed and started screaming, 'This is who you're looking for, this is who you're looking for.'"
Another cop went after the teen and brought him back to Dailey, who told cops they'd caught the guy.
Afterward, police introduced Dailey to the 41-year-old woman whose cell phone he'd helped return. She thanked him and gave him a hug, Dailey said. The phone ended up getting cracked during the incident.
Dailey said his brother is a police officer in Chicago, and he often hears stories about situations when no one steps in to interfere.
Dailey said he decided, "I'm going to be one of those people who tries to help."
Just a day before the Independence Day phone snatching, Dailey had posted a story on Facebook of another good Samaritan who'd helped foil an alleged robber with the message, "Good job my friend, good job! Your what all able bodied men should be, defending the weak against the strong who have bad intent!!"
Henley, of the 1300 block of East 72nd Place, was charged with felony robbery, said Officer John Mirabelli, a police spokesman.
Just a few hours later, a suburban man was arrested and later charged with felony robbery after stealing a phone.
Harold Cherry, 25, was picked up about a mile away from the earlier phone theft — in the 500 block of North Michigan Avenue — after he "forcibly demanded" a man's cell phone about 11 p.m. Mirabelli said.
Cherry, who lives in the 1300 block of South Kingsberry Drive in northwest suburban Hanover Park, was ordered held on $75,000 bond Saturday.