Man charged with series of knifepoint robberies at North Side boutiques

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Willie A. Doles | Chicago Police

Just 23 days after he was released from prison for a violent armed robbery, an Englewood man robbed three North Side boutiques, a Subway on the Near West Side and a business in Elmwood Park, authorities said Thursday.

Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto on Thursday described how a knife-wielding Willie Doles zeroed in on his victims in the city. Doles, 39, was ordered held without bail.

Doles came into each of the stores in the afternoon pretending he was a customer before he took out his weapon and demanded money, Scaduto said during his bond hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

He first zeroed in on The Green Goddess Boutique in Bucktown on May 6, Scaduto said. Doles purchased earrings at the business 1648 N. Damen, before allegedly demanding money from the cash register. After taking the money, he asked the victim to show him where the safe was and demanded her watch, Scaduto said.

The woman told Doles the business did not have a safe. Doles continued to ask the store employee for her purse and when she gave it to him, he threw the contents on a table, Scaduto said.

The woman, fearing for her life, then tried to take the knife from Doles, who eventually fled in a reddish sedan, Scaduto said. The victim was heard screaming for help and was taken to an area hospital. She needed four stitches from the wounds she received during her struggle with Doles, Scaduto said.

A few days later, on May 13, Doles, wearing a dark jacket, came into Londo Mondo, a women’s swimwear and accessories store, at 2148 N. Halsted, authorities said. He told the worker he needed to get a gift for his girlfriend, and the employee helped him select a pair of earrings, Scaduto said.

Once at the cash register, Doles grabbed the woman’s waist, produced a knife and pressed it against her side, Scaduto said. He demanded money, but the woman explained to him since most of the transactions were done with credit cards, there was very little cash on hand, Scaduto said.

Angry, Doles then demanded to know where the safe was, Scaduto said. The woman loudly repeated there was no safe in the business, hoping her co-worker in the back room would hear, Scaduto said. The co-worker did hear the colleague and walked into the alley and called 9-1-1.

Meanwhile, Doles took the woman to the backroom and asked for her purse, Scaduto said. The woman said she did not have a purse but had a backpack. Doles started going through the wallet the woman had in her backpack when the co-worker came back inside, Scaduto said. Doles fled, Scaduto said. The victim in that robbery later identified Doles in a lineup, Scaduto said.

A week later Doles targeted a business in Elmwood Park, Scaduto said.

Five days after that, Doles came into the Subway at 1525 West Madison and left without making a purchase to go to a nearby Dunkin Donuts, Scaduto said.

He came back into the Subway and got some cookies, Scaduto said. Doles went to get some more cookies when the clerk was at the cash register, Scaduto said. That’s when he allegedly pounced with the knife and jumped over the counter.

The victim tried to run, but Doles grabbed her, slammed her down on the counter twice before throwing her over, Scaduto said.

Doles trapped the woman and forced her to open the cash register from which Doles took $550, Scaduto said. He escaped in a maroon Oldsmobile, Scaduto said.

Then on Monday, Doles went to the Blue Jeans Bar, 2210 North Halsted. He told the worker there he wanted to buy something for his girlfriend but when the employee tried to help, he told her he didn’t like her suggestions, Scaduto said.

Doles then proceeded to pick two pairs of underwear up before he allegedly took out a knife and told the victim, “Give me all the money.” The woman gave Doles $150 from the cash register but Doles wanted to know if there was a safe, Scaduto said.

The woman, like the others, told Doles there was no safe. But he wasn’t buying it and started to punch the buttons of a device that was next to the cash register in hopes that it would open a hidden safe, authorities said. The Blue Jeans Bar worker had to explain that the machine was a printer, Scaduto said.

Doles left also taking $16 from the woman’s purse, Scaduto said. This victim alerted the store’s owner and activated the alarm.

Surveillance cameras in the latest heist captured the temporary license plate on the Oldsmobile, leading police to Doles home, in the 6900 block of South Oakley, Scaduto said.

Police set up surveillance outside Doles’ residence on Wednesday and saw him leave to go to a South Side hospital where he had some stitches removed, Scaduto said.

Officers later saw him leave the house with a black jacket and a knife, Scaduto said. They followed Doles to a Lincoln Park Pottery Barn Kids where he parked in the same spot after circling the business three times, Scaduto said.

Doles was captured as he made his way toward the store, Scaduto said. Doles had a large knife in his pocket at the time of his arrest, Scaduto said.

He has nine felony convictions for armed robbery, drugs and aggravated battery to a police officer.

Two of his past convictions are Class X felonies, which means if he’s convicted in even one of his latest Class X armed robberies, he’d be sentenced life in prison, Scaduto said.

Doles, who has three children, was released from prison on April 13 for an armed robbery in which he used a BB gun to bludgeon his victim, Scaduto said.

He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2008 for that crime.

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