A man who escaped from Cook County Jail last week is also a suspect in a strong-arm robbery that occurred in Riverside on the day of the escape, according to Riverside police.
On Feb. 10, Riverside police issued a neighborhood alert for a man who tackled a 35-year-old Cicero woman near the intersection of Delaplaine Road and East Burlington Street at approximately 2 p.m., grabbed her purse, which contained $100, and fled westbound toward Harlem Avenue.
According to the victim, the man was wearing blue jeans, a blue sweatshirt and a knit white or light-colored cap, which was pulled down over his face. He was described as a white male, 40-45 years old, between 5-11 and 6-0 tall and weighing 200-220 pounds. He reportedly had dark hair, which was graying on the sides and shaved in a buzz-type haircut.
That description is very close to that of Warren Mathis, who is believed to have escaped from the maximum-security wing of Cook County Jail between 11 and 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 10 by hiding in a laundry truck.
“The coincidences surrounding the escape, the incident and our composite is the reason we’re pursuing this,” said Riverside Assistant Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.
Mathis was captured around noon on Saturday, Feb. 11 by Cook County Sheriff’s Police, acting on a tip about his whereabouts, at the Presidential Inn, 3922 Harlem Ave. in Lyons.
Weitzel said that Riverside police would run a photo lineup for the victim of the strong-arm robbery early this week. That may be followed by a lineup at Cook County Jail.
“If she picks him out, then we’ll press charges,” Weitzel said.
According to news reports, Mathis was able to slip away from a guard supervising a work detail on a prison loading dock on the morning of Feb. 10. He apparently hid in a truck operated by the Chicago-based Lemon Scents company that was picking up inmate laundry.
The Chicago Tribune reported on Feb. 12 that up to three others may have aided Mathis after his escape, including wiring him money at a Chicago currency exchange and booking a room for him at the Lyons motel.
Mathis was in Cook County Jail awaiting trial on three armed robberies in the western suburbs, including the Aug. 27 holdup of the Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin’ Donuts store in the food court of North Riverside Park Mall.
Mathis, who has also been charged with the Aug. 18 armed robbery of a Radio Shack store in Berwyn and the Aug. 20 armed robbery of a Baskin-Robbins in LaGrange Park, was apprehended by North Riverside police following the Aug. 27 incident.
In that robbery, Mathis allegedly hired a cab to drive him and his girlfriend to the mall, where Mathis got out, walked up to the Baskin-Robbins store, showed the cashier what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol and announced the robbery. He allegedly made off with $300, half of which he dropped on his way back to the cab.
He then reportedly got back into the cab and ordered the driver to speed away. However, North Riverside officers captured him nearby at the intersection of Keystone Avenue and 26th Street.
At the time of his arrest last year, Mathis was on parole after serving seven years on 10 criminal convictions for armed robbery and embezzlement. His parole was transferred to Illinois from New Mexico last year.