Business owner fends off robbers and takes gun in Portage Park robbery on video

PORTAGE PARK — A Portage Park business owner fought back and disarmed someone who tried to rob him at gunpoint earlier this month, an attack on the company’s security video.

Around 7 p.m. on October 12, James Suh, of the Car Care Auto Spa at 3618 N. Cicero Ave. heard, at the store, when a man in a hoodie, who had been pacing outside for several minutes, walked in and pointed a gun at Suh and demanded money, Suh said.

Suh was on a conference call when the attempted robbery took place and had just returned from his car with a tape recorder to record the meeting. He forgot to lock the front door after coming back inside, he said.

Suh raised his hands and tried to calm the man down, explaining he needed a key to open the cash drawer, he said. The video shows the man struggling with the gun, lowering it to unlock it and then pointing it at Suh again.

Suh, who holds a concealed carry license but did not have his gun with him, said he could see the man’s gun could not be fired.

“He brings it back and aligns it and I see the flight is locked back,” Suh ​​said. “You can’t shoot me while it stands… it was all in the heat of the moment. My mind was racing a million miles a minute.”

Watch the video:

Suh slowly walked around the counter, grabbed the man and chased him to the store entrance where they tussled, video shows. Suh was able to pull the gun out of the man’s hands before running away.

A police spokesman said no one had been arrested.

One of Suh’s assistants posted footage of the attempted robbery to social media this week.

While Suh was being trained in how to deal with armed assailants and such situations, he cautioned fellow residents and shopkeepers against following his lead, acknowledging that his response could have made the situation even more dangerous.

“First and foremost, I acted out of emotion — I’m not recommending to anyone what I’ve done,” Suh ​​said.

Recognition: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Car Care Auto Spa, 3618 N. Cicero Ave. in Portage Park, is seen on October 26, 2022.

Police are advising residents who are threatened to remain calm, remember any special physical characteristics of the attacker or their car, be aware of their surroundings and install surveillance cameras to assist the investigation.

“You have to be very vigilant and disciplined with safety protocols,” Suh ​​said. “What’s the solution here? Do you lock your doors and let customers in one by one?”

Aside from the fear, the incident was frustrating because business is finally doing better after struggling with a pandemic for more than two years, Suh said. It was also the second time someone had targeted the store this month, Suh said.

In late September, a group tried to steal a car while an employee was washing it, Suh said. According to the log, the car’s engine was on because the heat helps dry the car, he said. The incident, which was also captured by the store’s cameras, happened in the afternoon and during normal business hours.

The attempted robbery is “almost the risk of doing business,” Suh ​​said.

“I’ve been doing this for a decade and nothing like this has ever happened, and now both of these things have happened,” he said.

Recognition: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
The Auto Warehouse, a used car dealership located at 3632 N Cicero Ave. in Portage Park, as seen on October 26, 2022.

In recent weeks, police have issued business and commercial alerts regarding multiple armed robberies and retail thefts in four Northwest Side police districts, including the 16th Precinct.

Detectives issued an alert Monday about recent burglary break-ins at seven businesses on the Far Northwest Side.

Reported robberies in the 16th Precinct are up 10 percent year over year, according to county data. The county has also seen a year-over-year increase in auto thefts, with a 53 percent increase, data shows.

Two days after the attempted Car Care Auto Spa robbery, eight cars were stolen at midnight from The Auto Warehouse, a used car dealership across the street at 3632 N. Cicero Ave, police said.

The cars were found and returned, police said.

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