Elgin man charged with string of armed robberies
BY JAMES SCALZITTI Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org June 29, 2012 12:54PM
Fernando D. Zavala / photo from Aurora police
A northwest suburban man arrested Friday on charges he robbed a currency exchange in Aurora has also been charged with numerous similar crimes across the region.
Fernando D. Zavala, 38, of Elgin faces two counts each of robbery and aggravated robbery in connection with two incidents in Aurora, Aurora police said.
He has also been charged or had charges authorized against him in cases in Elgin, East Dundee, DeKalb, Hillside, Streamwood and Hoffman Estates.
Zavala was arrested about 4:30 p.m. Friday after leading Aurora police on a short chase after officers responded to a hold-up alarm at the Check-N-Go in the 1200 block of North Lake Street, police said.
Police said Zavala entered the store, armed with a gun, and demanded money from two clerks. One of the employees activated a panic alarm, prompting the police response. After taking money from the cash drawers, Zavala ordered the employees to open the safe, but when he learned it was equipped with a 10-minute delay, he ran out the rear door, police said
By that time, police officers had arrived, and one saw Zavala get into a green minivan, police said. The officer ordered Zavala to stop but he drove around the officer, police said. Other officers pursued the minivan for a short time until they were able to stop it and take Zavala into custody without incident. Police recovered the weapon — a toy plastic gun — along with $1,070 in cash.
Upon questioning Zavala, detectives tied him to a similar robbery on June 22 at the Payday Loan Store in the 900 block of East New York Street in Aurora, in which about $3,500 was taken. The plastic gun was also apparently used in that robbery, police said.
Detectives also learned of his possible involvement in crimes in other jurisdictions, and alerted the other agencies for additional charges.
There were no injuries reported in either of the Aurora incidents.
Zavala is being held in the Kane County Jail on a $1.2 million bail.