Cops: Pair stole leaf blower from landscapers in Lake Forest

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Ignacio Alvarez (left) and Juan Nieto | Lake Forest police

Two men have been charged with robbing a landscaping crew and stealing a leaf blower Thursday afternoon in north suburban Lake Forest.

Officers were called about 1:20 p.m. for reports of a robbery in the 400 block of Linden Avenue, according to a statement from Lake Forest police. The victims told investigators they had been robbed at gunpoint and the suspects had taken a leaf blower before driving off in a brown Honda.

Officers located a Honda matching that description a short time later and pulled it over near Deerpath and Walnut, police said. The driver was taken into custody, while the passenger ran away. The stolen property was found inside the car.

Metra trains through the area were halted for about 35 minutes because investigators believed the suspect was running along the tracks, according to police. He was eventually caught by a Lake Bluff police officer near Green Bay Road and Route 176.

Nearby Woodlands Academy was placed on lockdown for about an hour while authorities searched for the second man, according to police.

Ignacio Alvarez and Juan U. Nieto, both 31, admitted to the robbery, but denied that a gun was involved, police said. Investigators did not recover a weapon from either of the suspects or the vehicle, and witnesses later told them what they thought was a gun might have been a cell phone.

Alvarez, of the 700 block of Wadsworth Avenue in Waukegan; and Nieto, of the 300 block of Powell Avenue in Waukegan, were each charged with two felony counts of theft, according to police.

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