Prosecutors say two men robbed a child while one of them was armed with a gun in the parking lot of a shopping center in Vernon Hills during a Facebook Marketplace meetup sale.
Samuel Davis, 30, of Grayslake, was charged with armed robbery, robbery, possession of a defaced firearm and battery.
The Vernon Hills Police Department responded around 6:15 p.m. Thursday to the 400 block of Milwaukee Avenue for a report of a robbery.
Responding officers learned from interviewing the victim that he had arranged to sell an item to another person, according to police officials.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Francis DeRosa said the sale of a hairdryer was arranged online through Facebook Marketplace with Davis and the victim, who is a juvenile.
DeRosa said the two initially agreed to meet at Panera Bread in Vernon Hills but Davis changed the location to Home Depot, 493 North Milwaukee Avenue.
The juvenile and Davis exited their vehicles and Davis asked to see the hairdryer.
While Davis was holding the item, a second suspect, who was in Davis’ vehicle, came up from behind the juvenile and grabbed him, DeRosa said.
The suspect told the victim, “That’s what you get for being a [expletive] kid.”
The suspect pressed a gun into the victim’s back before the juvenile was able to break free from the attacker.
An employee of the store called 911 after the juvenile sought help at the store, DeRosa said.
Investigators searched through an automated license plate reader camera system for the suspect vehicle using a description provided by the victim.
A similar car was detected in a neighboring shopping center and on nearby roadways immediately following the robbery, police officials said.
The white Mercedes was located in traffic by officers, who conducted a stop on the vehicle.
The victim positively identified the driver of the vehicle, Davis, as the person he had met with to conduct the transaction, DeRosa said.
A pistol was recovered during the stop but the second suspect has not been located yet. Davis has a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card and a concealed carry license.
The most serious charge against Davis is armed robbery, which is a Class X felony carrying a potential sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
“No community is immune from this growing trend of robberies occurring during internet transactions,” Vernon Hills Police Chief Patrick Kreis said.
“We remind the community that many police departments, including Vernon Hills, welcome these exchanges in their parking lots in an effort to ensure safety for the parties involved,” Kreis said.
The automated license plate reader cameras used to track down the suspect vehicle were funded by a grant from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to combat crime in retail areas, police officials said.
Davis is scheduled to appear in court again on Monday for a detention hearing.
The investigation remains ongoing and with additional information regarding the incident is asked to contact the Vernon Hills Police Department Investigations Unit at 847-362-4449.