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Clerk Who Shot Robber 'Back to Business' as Cops Tout Devon Ave. Safety

By Benjamin Woodard | November 19, 2013 8:43am
 Lawrence Bradley, 25, (inset) was charged with a felony count of armed robbery and a felony count of aggravated battery by discharging a firearm.
Lawrence Bradley, 25, (inset) was charged with a felony count of armed robbery and a felony count of aggravated battery by discharging a firearm.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday (inset: Chicago Police Department)

WEST ROGERS PARK — The Devon Avenue shopkeeper who shot a would-be robber earlier this month said he was "back to business" at his store, helping customers fix their phones and computers.

Sargon Zaia, owner of the i-Shakk in the 2900 block of West Devon Avenue, reopened his shop after a short hiatus following the incident.

"We're back to business as usual, just in a more secure way," he said Monday afternoon.

Zaia, who had bruises around his left eye, declined to describe what happened during the attempted robbery.

But prosecutors said Lawrence Bradley, 25, entered the store about 5:30 p.m. Nov. 4 with a BB gun and demanded money from the shopkeeper.

Bradley allegedly fired the gun multiple times and threw it at the shopkeeper, breaking the store owner's nose.

The shopkeeper went for his own stashed weapon in the store's safe and fired back, authorities said. But Bradley allegedly wrestled the gun away and hit the businessman with it.

Rogers Park Police District Cmdr. Thomas Waldera said Bradley, who had been shot twice, fled home in a car — with possibly his sister — to an Indiana hospital.

But police were watching all area hospitals for a gun shot victim seeking medical care when Bradley checked into Hammond's Franciscan St. Margaret Hospital, Waldera said.

"Why he comes up here and thinks he's going to commit a robbery — we don't have an answer," said Waldera at a meeting Monday with Devon Avenue business owners.

Waldera assured attendees that the crime was "not part of pattern" of robberies in the area.

"We're a target rich environment," he said, explaining that most theft involves unattended property in cars and homes. "We're mostly property crimes. We don't have a lot of violent crimes and a lot of gang crimes up here."

In West Ridge, there have been 117 reported robberies this year, but only eight have involved a business, he said.

In addition, there had been 213 reported burglaries this year and only 13 of them involved a business, he said.

He said patterns of commercial robberies are uncommon along Devon.

"They do exist, but its something that we really pay attention to and get all over if we see one develop," he said.

In the fall, Waldera had warned business owners about a man who was suspected of robbing three Devon Avenue businesses. One of the incidents, where the thief stole $600 of marinating halal meat, was caught on camera.