4 charged with robbing Niles woman at gunpoint

Left to Right: Mercedes Alvarez, Peter Bloodgood, Julian Cortez and Angelo Rodriguez have been charged in connection with the robbery of a Niles woman. (Niles Police Dept. / May 17, 2014)

Four people were ordered held in lieu of bail Saturday on felony armed robbery charges after police in Niles say they followed a woman home from work Thursday and robbed her outside her garage.
 
A 34-year-old Niles woman told police that she had returned home from work a little before 2:30 a.m. Thursday and was leaving her garage in the 9000 block of Churchill Circle when she was approached by two partially masked individuals armed with handguns, police said in a release.
 
The two demanded her purse and a tote bag and then fled in a light-colored SUV, police said.
 
The woman was not injured and told police that she saw the SUV multiple times while driving home from work and believed the car had followed her home.
 
Niles police broadcast the vehicle description to various law enforcement agencies and a Cook County Sheriff’s Police officer stopped a vehicle matching that description about 15 minutes later near North Central Avenue and North Northwest Highway in the city’s Jefferson Park neighborhood.
 
Two of the vehicle occupants – one armed with a handgun – climbed out of the windows of the SUV and fled, police said, while three other occupants were taken into custody with the help of Niles and Chicago police.
 
Authorities recovered the Niles woman’s credit cards and other forms of identification inside the SUV, as well as two loaded handguns, police said. Using serial numbers, detectives traced the two guns to a home burglary reported in Brookfield, police said.
 
Detectives were also able to track the two suspects who initially fled from the SUV to an apartment in the 1300 block of North Lorel Avenue in the city’s North Austin neighborhood, police said.
 
Police from Niles and Chicago set up surveillance outside the apartment later in the day Thursday and took the two into custody after they tried to flee in a waiting vehicle, police said.
 
Felony armed robbery charges were approved for four of the five suspects, identified by police as: Mercedes Alvarez, 22, of the 1300 block of North Lorel Avenue in Chicago; Peter Bloodgood, 22, of the 1900 block of South Highland Avenue in Berwyn; Julian Cortez, 21, of the 3800 block of South Highland Avenue in Berwyn, and Angelo Rodriguez, 20, of the 1600 block of South Harvey Avenue in Berwyn.

A Cook County judge ordered the three male suspects held on $400,000 bail on the armed robbery charges Saturday, while the female suspect is being held on $75,000 bail. Bloodgood is also being held without bail on a separate probation violation.

All have “extensive criminal backgrounds,” police said.

Tribune reporter Mitch Smith contributed.

jbullington@tribune.com

Twitter: @jbtribune