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Thief Falls Through Ceiling in Botched Currency Exchange Robbery, Cops Say

By Josh McGhee | November 10, 2013 4:39pm
 Joel West, 30 of the 6600 block of South Oakley Avenue was charged with armed robbery.
Joel West, 30 of the 6600 block of South Oakley Avenue was charged with armed robbery.
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Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A West Englewood man is charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery after hiding out in the ceiling of a Bridgeport Currency Exchange and threatening an employee and her young son, prosecutors said Sunday.

Joel West, of the 6600 block of South Oakley Avenue, fell from the ceiling of the business in the 3100 block of South Wallace Street, startling a 44-year-old employee and her 7-year-old son, prosecutors said.

West then tried to rob the store, said Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dibler.

West, armed with a knife, approached the woman and told her to open the security door. When she refused West pushed the woman into a corner and put the knife to her neck, Dibler said. He then took the woman's keys and her son, and tried unsuccessfully to open the security door himself, Dibler said.

The woman begged West to let her son go, which he did before fleeing the scene. The woman called police, who found West four buildings away in a stairwell changing his clothes. West then ran away from police barefoot, said Dibler. Police reportedly found a mask in the building where West hid.

Once in custody, officers brought West back to the Currency Exchange, where the employee identified him by his clothing, police said.

Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. set West's bail at $250,000.