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Suspect shot, injured in attempted heist at mall may be part of Midwest theft ring

Updated: June 29, 2013 2:12PM

A Detroit man shot by a security guard while allegedly trying to rob an Oak Brook jewelry store may have been part of a group that targeted upscale stores across the Midwest, police said Monday.

The man, whose identity hasn’t been released, is suspected of using a four-pound sledge hammer to smash a display case containing watches at C.D. Peacock, a jewelry store in the open-air, high-end mall.

A day after the 24-year-old man was wounded, investigators are trying to determine if he and two men with him carried out other smash-and-grab robberies in nearby states.

“There have been some similar incidents in other Midwestern states,” Oak Brook Police Chief James Kruger said Monday.

The man remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition after being shot once in the abdomen by a store security guard, authorities said. He hasn’t been charged but remained under police guard at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.

Two other men police believe were involved in the robbery attempt are still on the run after escaping in a black Jeep Liberty that had been stolen earlier Sunday from a mall parking lot, then backed into a nearby handicapped parking spot. The SUV was found abandoned early Monday in an Oakbrook Terrace parking lot less than a mile from the shopping center, Kruger said.

The trio apparently cased the mall for several hours before the 3:40 p.m. robbery attempt, Kruger said, citing video shot by mall security cameras.

The three men entered the jewelry store together, then one pulled the hammer out from under his shirt and smashed a watch display case, Kruger said.

A security guard shot the hammer-wielding suspect during a struggle that erupted during the robbery attempt, police said

“It’s our belief the suspects weren’t aware he was armed,” Kruger said of the security guard, who was licensed to carry a handgun.

The attempted robbery was the sixth holdup to occur at the mall in the last 10 years, Kruger said.

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