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Attempted Robbery at Des Plaines Jewelry Store 2nd in 3 Months

R.C. Wahl Jewelers owner says it’s a coincidence, and, before November, the store had not experienced an attempted robbery in more than five years.

The Des Plaines Police Department provided the following report.

For the second time in approximately three months a robbery was attempted on a Des Plaines jewelry store. In both cases the suspected thief did not escape with jewelry from

Bob Wahl, owner, said the attempted robberies on Nov. 3 and Jan. 29 were a coincidence, and before these incidents it had been more than five years since another robbery was attempted. He said the events did not impact the business.

“Unfortunately this and other businesses are targets for quick, easy money,” Wahl said.

During the robbery attempt on Nov. 3, an unknown male subject smashed a glass case with a hammer, failed to penetrate the shatterproof glass, and left empty-handed, according to the police report.

In the second occurrence, two witnesses chased the suspected robber out the store and eventually recovered the stolen merchandise from him, according to the police report.

Henry M. Merrill, 42, of Hazel Crest, was charged with one felony count of robbery and one felony count of theft after running out of R.C. Wahl Jewelers with a ring valued at nearly $20,000 on his finger, at 3:25 p.m. on Jan. 29, according to a police report.

A witness told police, according to the report, Merrill visited the store and inquired about some jewelry on Jan. 24, and then asked about a ring at the jewelry store at approximately 11 a.m. on Jan. 29.

Merrill returned to R.C. Wahl Jewelers at approximately 3:11 p.m. on Jan. 29, according to the report, and inquired about a ring, a 1.5 carat fancy yellow diamond set in a white gold ring, valued at $19,500.

A witness told police that during the possible sale Merrill put the ring on his right hand pinky finger, police stated. Merrill, with the ring still on his finger, ran toward the exit, police stated, and two witnesses chased him.

Merrill ran to a dark blue vehicle parked in front of Square Deal Shoes, 1516 E. Miner St., a witness told police, according to the report, and got into the driver’s seat and closed the door.

One of the witnesses pursuing Merrill opened the front door of the vehicle in an attempt to stop him from leaving, police stated.

After Merrill started his vehicle, a witness told police, according to the report, he shouted, “Take the ring back!” Merrill gave the ring to one of the witnesses, police stated, backed up his vehicle, and struck the two witnesses with the driver’s door.

Merrill then made a U-turn onto eastbound Miner Street, police stated, and turned left on southbound Pearson Street.

Merrill was stopped by Des Plaines police on the south side of Des Plaines, Deputy Chief Treantafeles said, and taken into custody. Merrill was identified, in part, by the license plate on his vehicle, Treantafeles said.

Merrill's bond was set at $200,000, according to police, and he was given a court date of Feb. 8 at Skokie courthouse.

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