WICKER PARK — Two workers at Wicker Park's Beadniks chased a 52-year-old man who used a toy gun to rob the boutique of a few hundred dollars until one of the employees tackled the man, according to the victims and police.
John Codispoti, of the 1300 block of North Rockwell Avenue, is charged with three felony counts of aggravated robbery while indicating he was armed with a firearm, according to Officer Thomas Sweeney, a Chicago Police spokesman.
Sweeney said after Friday's arrest, Codispoti was later identified as the same man wanted in a robbery in the 1900 block of West Chicago Avenue in Ukrainian Village last month.
Codispoti, 52, appeared in bond court Sunday, where he was denied bail by Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan. Codispoti has been on parole since May 2016 for previous armed-robbery convictions in Michigan, records show. He now lives in Illinois.
Codispoti walked into Beadniks, a make-your-own jewelry boutique at 1937 W. Division St., about 5:45 p.m. Friday and pretended to shop, according to Allison Nault, 28, a store employee.
"He walked around for a bit and pretended to be looking for something for a girlfriend," Nault said. "Then he walked up to our second register and pulled a gun on my co-worker."
Nault said her 26-year-old co-worker Anneke Beard did not immediately open the cash register, and tried to push a nearby panic button to call authorities. That delay caused the man to be "in a frenzy," Nault said.
The register eventually opened and Nault intervened, giving the man about $300 cash, which he grabbed before quickly running out of the store.
Nault was pushed to the ground in the process.
"We struggled," Nault said. "I fought back a little but ultimately ended up on the ground. That's when Anneke [Beard] chased him out of the store. She was the one who tackled him. Other pedestrians helped to hold him down while waiting for police."
According to Nault, her colleague had realized their attacker was using a fake gun.
"He was holding it up to her, and waving it in her face, butting her with it," Nault said. The gun "touched her skin. It was plastic. Also, one of the parts from the gun, a plastic toy clip, had fallen off."
Sweeney confirmed that during the struggle at the register one of the two women "determined the firearm not to be real."
As Beard ran after the robber screaming for help, witnesses said, a male pedestrian tripped Codispoti. Beard and another male passerby soon tackled Codispoti and held him down until police arrived.
Nault said Codispoti "had all the money crushed and crumpled in his hands" the whole time he was running and while tackled. Beard sustained a cut to her lip during the scuffle and refused medical treatment, Sweeney said.
Sweeney said Codispoti was arrested in the 1100 block of North Winchester Avenue about 5:50 p.m. Friday. Winchester is the side street that runs just south of Beadniks. Sweeney said the Chicago Police Department "does not recommend chasing a robber."
Nault said she and Beard are both "still a little in shock" over the incident.
"[Beard] knew the gun was fake before I did. He was a smaller man, and we both just got upset," Nault said, adding that in the five years she has worked at Beadniks, there have been a few shoplifting thefts but no one has ever tried to rob the bead store.