FRANKFORT, Ill. — An armed robbery caught on camera in south suburban Frankfort has left some in the community feeling concerned.
Police are now hoping anyone who recognizes the suspect will come forward.
According to the Frankfort Police Department, the robbery took place around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night in a parking lot near West Nebraska Street while a 17-year-old girl was walking to her car.
Community members say the girl had just left work at a local restaurant when it all unfolded.
The teen girl, who was robbed at gunpoint, can be heard on surveillance video screaming for help before running away through a nearby alley.
According to police, a dark sedan with one headlight quickly approached the victim before a passenger, who was wearing dark clothing and a mask, exited the vehicle and pointed a gun at her. Police described the suspect as a male who stands around 6 feet tall and weighs around 200 pounds.
Officers say the girl was able to escape without injury, but the robber managed to get away with her purse.
“It’s one of those situations where you see the video and it’s hard to believe that that’s actually here in your hometown,” Paul Malito, who works nearby, said.
Malito grew up in Frankfort and has daughters not much older than the victim. He said he was shocked and disheartened by the crime.
“You don’t think here when you’re running downtown to grab something, you have to be on your toes,” Malito said. “For a young kid too, the poor thing’s 17 years old. That’s gonna be with her for life.”
Dennis Specha rides his bike to Frankfort often and has a daughter who is the same age as the victim.
“I wouldn’t have expected something like that to happen here and then when you see the video, it’s even more violent than what you would think,” Specha said.
Specha said he is now going to be extra vigilant, even in areas where he feels safe.
“It always would make you think, for sure, that you’re gonna have to keep your eyes open, have some eyes in the back of your head,” Specha said.
In the video, the suspect begins to run away after taking the purse, before he turns around to pick something off the ground. Another person can be seen running near him as the crime unfolds, although it is not clear whether that person is being sought by police.
As officers search for those involved, Malito said he hopes people committing these types of crimes will think about the traumatic impact they can have on people.
“Unfortunately we have some friends in town who have had an experience like this several years ago and it’s with her. She carries it with her every day and it’s hard to watch,” Malito said.
“You would hope that the message somehow would be to try and humanize it, where they can maybe see it from the other side, where they can understand this is just a girl trying to get to and from work and earn a living,” Malito said. “It seems like they’re so callous now and it’s dehumanizing; they don’t realize the effects that it causes.”
Police said they were able to gather some evidence at the scene but asked anyone who may recognize the suspect to call the Frankfort Police Investigations Unit at 815-469-9435.
No other description of the driver or suspect vehicle was available, according to police.