May 24--Officers investigating a robbery of two cell phones from a South Side 'L' station ended up recovering 21 stolen phones from a nearby store and arresting two men.
James Barnes, 40, is accused of robbing a teenager of his two phones around 11:20 a.m. Thursday at the 87th Street Red Line station in the middle of the Dan Ryan Expressway. The 19-year-old victim initially allowed Barnes to borrow one of his phones, according to a police report. But instead of giving it back, prosecutors said Barnes kept it and then grabbed the teen's other phone.
The teen followed Barnes onto a northbound train, police said, and the two struggled for the phones. When the train pulled into the 79th Street station, police allege that Barnes reached for his waistband, suggested he had a gun and told the teen to stay away. The victim then rode one stop north before getting a train the opposite direction and getting off at 79th, police said.
After getting off the train, police said the victim soon recognized Barnes as his attacker and flagged down officers, who arrested him. Barnes told police he had taken both phones to the nearby Boost Mobile Store in the 0-100 block of West 79th Street, where he was given $63.
After investigating further, police said they secured a search warrant for a cell phone store. Officers recovered 21 stolen phones from the West Chatham neighborhood shop and arrested Michael Donaldson, 34, who is identified in police reports as the store owner.
Barnes faces a felony count of aggravated robbery and a felony count of violating the sex offender registry. Records show he was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault of a 15-year-old in Rock Island County and is non-compliant with the registry.
Donaldson, who didn't appear in court Saturday, faces misdemeanor charges of resisting a peace officer and theft. Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil set bail for Barnes at $300,000.
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