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Crime & Courts

Riverside police charge 2 for armed robbery of $30K in jewelry

RIVERSIDE – The Riverside Police Department announced Thursday that two men with connections to street gangs were charged with the daytime armed robbery of a jeweler in Riverside Saturday.

Saul Sandoval, 19, of the 2800 block of South Keeler Avenue in Chicago was charged with two counts of armed robbery, a class x felony, and two counts of aggravated assault. Also charged in connection with the robbery was Juan Ramos, 21, of the 4900 block of West 30th Street, Cicero, with two counts of armed robbery and one count of aggravated battery to a senior citizen.

According to police reports, a jeweler who operates a regular booth at Swap-O-Rama, located at 4200 S. Ashland Avenue in Chicago, was followed by two men after he left his booth and was robbed at gunpoint in the driveway of a friend's home in the 100 block of East Burlington in Riverside at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The victim, a 70-year-old man who lives in Hillside, was beaten, pushed to the ground and had his shirt pulled over his face, according to police reports. Police said the two robbers wore masks and were in possession of a handgun.

The owner of the home, a 76-year-old Riverside resident, heard the disturbance and came to the door. According to police, Sandoval pointed a gun at her, swore and told her to stay out of it.

The men robbed the jeweler of $30,000 in jewelry and fled eastbound to a waiting car parked in a lot at Burlington and Cowley Road, according to police. They then fled east on Burlington to Harlem.

Riverside police were able to make an arrest after it was learned that the jeweler had stopped at a Berwyn business on his way to the home in Riverside. Surveillance video from the business showed the jeweler being followed out of the lot by the same car that followed it out of Swap-O-Rama in Chicago. A license plate number was obtained by police and police set up survellience at homes in Cicero and Chicago.

According to police, four men were arrested at a home in Cicero Sunday at about 6:30 p.m. Police held live lineups with the offenders being masked and asked to repeat the words used when the gun was brandished. Police said witnesses were able to make positive IDs independently from the line up. Charges were approved Wednesday night.

According to police, both men have extensive criminal records and are self-admitted gang members. Both men were charged, but not convicted, in a similar case by Chicago police in 2012, according to Riverside investigators.

Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said investigators with his department worked the case nonstop for 72 hours with assistance from police departments in Berwyn, Cicero, Lyons, North Riverside, Brookfield and Chicago.

No jewelry has been recovered, according to Weitzel, who said he believes it was either melted down or sold on the street.

Both men appeared in bond court Thursday morning. Bond was set at $70,000 for Sandoval and $85,000 for Ramos.

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