CHICAGO — A couple from the Near West Side admitted to committing a string of robberies in their neighborhood and in Lincoln Square after falling on tough times last week, prosecutors said Sunday.
Brian O'Connor, 31, and Sarah Doubek, 35, both of the 2200 block of West Madison Street, were charged with five felonies each: three counts of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, one count of aggravated robbery and one count of attempted aggravated robbery.
The two began the the crime spree after O'Connor lost his job as a waiter from Red Robin and Doubek's car was stolen, according to Assistant State's Attorney Anastasia Harper.
The robberies began on March 22, when Doubek, armed with a hammer, and O'Connor carrying a metal BB gun walked around the 200 block of South Leavitt Street searching for someone to rob, Harper said. The two spotted a Papa John's delivery driver around 9:30 p.m. and demanded he hand over all his money, according to police reports.
"I'm sorry for doing this, but I need to feed my kids," O'Connor allegedly told the delivery driver before he handed over $100, according to police reports.
Around 8:15 p.m. the following day, Doubek allegedly served as a lookout as O'Connor entered Domino's Pizza, at 2331 W. Madison St., armed with the same BB gun, Harper said. O'Connor pulled the BB gun from a bag as he approached the counter and demanded money from the register and the safe, according to prosecutors.
O'Connor left the Domino's with $1100 and witnesses called police shortly after, Harper said. The two were stopped by officers, but allowed to leave after providing an excuse for the money, she said.
On Thursday, the two entered a Pizza Hut with the intent to rob it, but instead ordered food before robbing a Lincoln Square 7-Eleven at 2323 W. Lawrence Ave., police said.
O'Connor pulled out a shotgun around 10:30 p.m., and Doubek ran off with $60. After the incident, O'Connor dumped the BB gun in a nearby dumpster and the two returned to their home and created a fake bomb from a paint can, pipes and wires, according to authorities.
In the latest incident, the pair ordered a pizza at Sarpino's Pizzeria, 627 W. Lake St., about 2 a.m. Friday and sat down without taking off their dark scarves, police said.
O'Connor got up and told a person behind the counter that he had an explosive in a duffel bag, police said. The duo took $1200, dumped the fake bomb in a nearby dumpster and fled without causing any injuries, according to police.
Officers used surveillance footage from all the incidents and the description from the street stop after the Domino's Pizza robbery to apprehend the two, Harper said. Witnesses also identified Doubek from a photo array, according to Harper.
O'Connor's family was in tears in the courtroom when Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas set his bail at $1 million. Family said he suffered from bipolar disorder but would not comment any further. Doubek's bail was set at $500,000. Their next court date is scheduled for Friday.