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Man Robs Bead Shop With Fake Gun That Falls Apart, So Woman Tackles Him

Man Robs Bead Shop With Fake Gun That Falls Apart, So Woman Tackles Him

John Codispoti, of the 1300 block of North Rockwell Avenue, was charged with three felony counts of aggravated robbery while indicating armed with a firearm, police said. View Full Caption

WICKER PARK — Two workers at Wicker Park’s Beadniks chased and tackled a 52-year-old man who used a toy gun to rob the boutique of a few hundred dollars, according to one of the victims and police.

John Codispoti, of the 1300 block of North Rockwell Avenue, was charged with three felony counts of aggravated robbery “while indicating armed with a firearm,” said Officer Thomas Sweeney, a Chicago Police spokesman.

Sweeney said after Friday’s arrest, Codispoti was later identified as the same man from a robbery in the 1900 block of West Chicago Avenue in Ukrainian Village last month.

At Beadniks, a make-your-own jewelry workshop and boutique, the 52-year-old Codispoti walked into the store around 5:45 p.m. Friday and pretended to be shopping, according to Allison Nault, 28, a worker at Beadniks, 1937 W. Division St.

“He walked around for a bit and pretended to be looking for something for a girlfriend, and then he walked up to our second register and pulled a gun on my co-worker,” Nault said.

Nault said her 26-year-old co-worker Anneke Beard, did not immediately open the cash register, and tried to push a nearby panic button to call authorities, and that delay caused the man to be “in a frenzy” and push Beard to the ground, pressing the gun against her.

The register eventually opened and Nault intervened, giving the man about $300 cash, which he grabbed and quickly ran out of the store.

Nault said that her co-worker ran after the man screaming for help because she knew the gun he had used to hold her up was not real.

“It was plastic. She could feel it was not real when he pressed it against her, when she was on the ground. Also, one of the parts from the gun, a plastic toy clip, had fallen off,” Nault said.

Sweeney confirmed that during the struggle at the register one of the two women “determined the firearm not to be real.”

As Beard ran after the man on the street while screaming, a male pedestrian was able to trip Codispoti, and as he fell to the ground, Beard and another male passerby, tackled Codispoti and held him down until police arrived.

Nault said Codispoti “had all the money crushed and crumpled in his hands” the whole time he was running and while tackled. Beard sustained a cut to her lip during the scuffle and refused medical treatment, Sweeney said.

Sweeney said Codispoti was arrested on the 1100 block of N. Winchester Avenue at 5:50 p.m. Friday. Winchester is the side street that runs just south of Beadniks. For those who find themselves in a similar situation. Sweeney said the Chicago Police Department “does not recommend chasing a robber.”

Nault said she and Beard are both “still a little in shock” over the incident.

“[Beard] knew the gun was fake before I did. He was a smaller man, and we both just got upset,” Nault said, adding that in the 5 years she has worked at Beadniks, there have been a few shoplifting thefts but no one has ever tried to rob the bead store.

Codispoti was out on parole from previous armed robbery convictions in Michigan, records show.