By Bob Uphues
Brookfield police say DNA evidence was the key to directly connecting a second suspect to an armed robbery at a local antiques store in July 2019. And, on Dec. 17 detectives took the man into custody without incident at his residence in southwest suburban Montgomery, closing out the case.
The Cook County State's Attorney has charged Milo Simmons, 50, with attempted armed robbery, a Class 1 felony that carries a prison sentence of between four and 15 years, if convicted.
At the time of his arrest, Simmons was on parole for a 2014 residential burglary conviction, an offense for which he was sentenced to 10 years.
In January of that year, Brookfield police had arrested Simmons for allegedly breaking into an Ogden Avenue hobby shop with another man and stealing the cash register, running across the street with it to the motel where they was staying. It is unclear whether Simmons was ever tried for that offense.
Simmons has a long criminal record that stretches back to 1990 when he received a four year sentence for residential burglary and theft.
According to police, Simmons and Brian A. Shive, 46, tried to rob the owner of Knight's Antiques, 9046 31st St., Brookfield, on the afternoon of July 25, 2019. Both men allegedly wore bandannas over their faces and were armed with handguns when they confronted the owner.
However, the duo aborted the robbery and fled the store after an employee who witnessed the incident caused a distraction by running out the back door of the business and calling police.
The employee later identified Shive as one of the offenders after police took him into custody as he exited the backyard of a house on 30th Street just west of Sunnyside Avenue.
Shive, of Venice, Florida, pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery in September 2019 and is in the midst of serving a six-year sentence at Shawnee Correctional Center.
Simmons reportedly eluded capture despite a large police search that included using dogs and a helicopter. But a resident of the 9000 block of Bartlett Avenue reported finding a black bandanna, a silver handgun and other articles of clothing under a bush in a side yard.
Brookfield police turned over that evidence to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab. Based on a description of the second offender police believed Simmons, whose face, neck and bald head are heavily tattooed, was a suspect.
But it wasn't until Nov. 23 that state police notified Brookfield detectives that DNA recovered from the black bandanna found at the scene was a match with Simmons. Local detectives, accompanied by officers from other agencies, arrested Simmons at home on Dec. 17.
His bond has been set at $500,000 and the Illinois Department of Corrections has also issued a parole violation warrant, police said.