COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A 22-year-old art school graduate was dozing on the Red Line when a man now accused in a CTA "crime spree" punched him in the face and threatened to shoot him, prosecutors said.
Gregory Taylor, 19, is charged with aggravated robbery and armed robbery in what prosecutors described Tuesday as a "crime spree on the CTA" that left five young transit riders fearful and without cellphones in May.
"He actually said he would shoot me in the foot," one victim said Tuesday upon learning that Taylor had been charged in four other similar incidents. "I still take [the Red Line] almost every day."
The man, who asked not to be identified, said he was sleeping on May 21 when Taylor punched him in the face and grabbed his cellphone.
After a moment of shock, the man said he stood up, intending to get his cellphone back. But when Taylor threatened to shoot him, he let him go.
Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Heather Kent said in four of the five cases Taylor said or implied that he would shoot the victims "in the foot" if they didn't hand over their cellphones. In one case, he lifted his shirt to reveal a gun in his waistband, Kent said.
The robberies occurred on May 18 at 22 E. Roosevelt Road; May 21 at 945 W. Fullerton Ave.; May 23 at 2601 S. State St.; and May 25 at 4003 S. Indiana Ave., prosecutors said.
Taylor muttered angrily under his breath Tuesday when Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered him held on $450,000 bail.
Taylor, arrested as a result of a police investigation into the robbery pattern, was positively identified by victims. According to police, he is a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang.