Web Extra!

Nearly one year to the day after he walked into Grumpy’s Café in Riverside and robbed the manager of cash, Cesar Vazquez was found guilty of robbery by Judge Thomas Tucker in a bench trial at the Maybrook courthouse on Friday afternoon.

After more than an hour of testimony by witnesses, the victim and Vazquez himself, Tucker wasn’t buying the defense’s contention that Vazquez was a victim of mistaken identity and that he was actually in Joliet at the time of the March 31, 2009 robbery.

Vazquez, 22, who has been jailed since last April and has an unrelated Berwyn robbery charge pending against him, will be back in court on April 29, at which time he’s likely to be sentenced.

Vazquez, a Berwyn resident, was initially charged with armed robbery, a Class X felony, by the Cook County State’s Attorney. Assistant State’s Attorney Richard Albanese surmised after the trial that Tucker chose the lesser ruling because investigators were unable to recover a weapon. Vazquez faces a prison sentence of between three and five years for the Class 2 felony conviction. He is being held without bond at Cook County Jail.

The defense attempted to discredit the victim’s description of the man who robbed her, pointing out inconsistencies between observations she made to a police sketch artist and Vazquez’s appearance.

Vazquez’s girlfriend and her mother also testified that Vazquez was at their home in Joliet at the time the robbery occurred. However, Tucker apparently wasn’t buying the alibi. The two witnesses had not come forward prior to today’s trial to intercede on Vazquez’s behalf.

Albanese also pointed out that the victim had “instantly” identified Vazquez as the robber on two occasions, first in a photo lineup and then in a physical lineup after his arrest on April 10, 2009.