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$500K bail for 2 charged in attempted robbery, kidnapping at AT&T store

Prosecutors hit two Chicago men with several counts of kidnapping and attempted armed robbery after they allegedly held captive customers of an AT&T store in the Southwest Suburbs and led police on a high-speed chase Thursday.

Lavell Fort, 20, of the West Chesterfield neighborhood and Stephen Jakes, 26, from Back of the Yards, each face seven counts of aggravated kidnapping and attempted armed robbery. Fort also is charged with aggravated fleeing and Jakes is charged with being an armed habitual criminal.

Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil ordered each held in lieu of $500,000 during a bond hearing Sunday at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Assistant State’s Attorney Leslie Billings said Jakes and an unidentified man entered an AT&T store Thursday in the 9400 block of Joliet Road in Hodgkins, announced a robbery and put a gun to the manager’s head. She said they ordered five customers and two employees to drop their cellphones and go to the back of the store.

One customer got away, she said, by running out the rear door and pulling it closed. The unidentified suspect tried to pull it open but couldn’t, so he and Jakes fled. Billings said the five customers left the store and saw Fort in a red Oldsmobile Alero. One wrote down the license plate number and called police.

Billings said Hickory Hills police saw that car and began a pursuit that led west on Joliet Road to southbound Interstate 55. The chase — during which Billings said the suspects drove faster than 100 mph at times — ended when the car crashed into another vehicle at Weber and Boughton roads.

The prosecutor told the judge that Jakes was in the car with Fort, and the men tried to run off before they were caught.

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