2 North Side businesses robbed, police say

CHICAGO -- Two North Side businesses were robbed on Saturday, according to officials.

At 11:20 Saturday morning, a man walked into a Vitamin Shoppe in the 3200 block of North Ashland in Lakeview.  He held a knife to a female employee, demanded money, and got away with cash from the register and safe. He was wearing a tan knit cap, black jacket, and carrying a large black backpack.

The description was similar to the man who hit a dry cleaners less than hour earlier in the 1200 block of North Wells in Old Town, also robbing a female employee at knifepoint and getting away with cash.

"That's terribly disturbing, especially in this neighborhood where we like to think it's safe. It can happen anywhere. Hope it doesn't happen often," Greg Catenacci, a customer, said.

Police are working to determine if it's the same man responsible for both crimes.

"We just came in from out of town. We feel safe usually but this is distressing," Laraine Spector, a neighborhood resident, said.

Robert Johnson, who works at a Massage Envy a couple of doors down from the dry cleaners, said they had their own security scare this week. Nothing was taken, but they've started to lock their doors earlier. And he's concerned to see a neighboring business targeted.

"It's really a tight knit community. To see someone come around here threaten the community so boldly it's disheartening, especially in the holiday season," he said.

No injuries were reported.

No one was injured.