A husband and wife who have been living at a Brookfield motel since August spent Thanksgiving in Cook County Jail, charged in connection with the strong-arm robbery of an elderly man near the Prairie Avenue train station Nov. 19.
Brookfield police arrested Anthony Lamontagna, 37, and Sabrina Lamontagna, 36, on Nov. 25 at the Pioneer Motel, 8835 Ogden Ave., where they lived with their two children.
Anthony Lamontagna was charged with aggravated robbery, a Class 1 felony and faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted. The charge was upgraded from a Class 2 felony, said police, because the victim was 70 years old.
Sabrina Lamontagna is charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a stolen credit card, a Class 4 felony.
At a court hearing on Thanksgiving Day, a judge set Anthony Lamontagna’s bond at $250,000. Sabrina Lamontagna’s bond was set at $15,000. Both had court appearances scheduled for Tuesday.
According to police, both Lamontagnas are unemployed and the family has been living at motels in Lyons and Brookfield since at least July. The two would often loiter near public transportation hubs, said police, selling candy they had stolen to support themselves.
On the night of the robbery, according to police, Anthony Lamontagna was seen on surveillance video standing on the north platform at the Prairie Avenue stop. He reportedly told police he’d gone there to meet his wife, who was on an outbound train, but he also reportedly admitted he was also sizing up potential victims he could rob.
Police said that Sabrina Lamontagna was on the same train as the victim, though she reportedly did not see her husband on the platform as she left the train. Surveillance video reportedly showed Anthony Lamontagna following the 70-year-old victim from the north platform across the tracks as he walked to his vehicle, which was parked on Forest Avenue.
“You can see him on the video follow the man over the tracks,” said Brookfield Police Lt. Edward Petrak. “He saw him as an easy target.”
As the victim fumbled with his keys, Lamontagna allegedly threw an arm around the victim’s neck and demanded the man’s wallet. The victim reported feeling something hard against his back, possibly a weapon.
According to police, the hard object may have been a bottle of vodka Lamontagna said he was carrying at the time. Police did not recover a weapon from the motel room where the Lamontagnas were staying.
On the night of the robbery, police said, surveillance video from a pharmacy in Lyons showed that Sabrina Lamontagna attempted to purchase $35 worth of food and cigarettes with the victim’s credit card.
Police went to the Pioneer Motel on the evening of Nov. 25 and arrested the couple. During questioning, they both implicated themselves in the robbery and attempted use of the credit card, police said.
Anthony Lamontagna told police he dumped the victim’s wallet in a garbage can a block west of the motel. Police reported recovering the wallet from the garbage can and found the victim’s identification card and credit cards in a nearby storm sewer.
Police said Anthony Lamontagna has been arrested previously 17 times and has six criminal convictions. Most of the offenses were traffic-related, police said. None of the offenses was for a violent crime.
The couple’s children have been turned over to relatives.