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Cops: Liquor Store Owner Recognized Customer-Turned-Robber

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Michael Nelson

Michael Nelson (credit: Cook County Sheriff)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – An 18-year-old man accused of robbing a Ford Heights liquor store has been arrested, thanks in part to a store owner who recognized him as “Lil Mike,” a frequent customer.

Michael Nelson, 18, of the 1500 block of Senator Lane in Ford Heights, is charged with armed robbery with a firearm in connection with the Friday afternoon robbery of the liquor store in the 900 block of Lincoln Highway, a release from the Cook County Sheriff’s office said.

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Nelson and an accomplice — both dressed in black masks, hats and hoodies — allegedly demanded money from the store owner, who recognized Nelson as a frequent customer and knew him from the neighborhood, according to the release.

Even when Nelson allegedly pointed his gun at the man, the store owner “thought it was a joke” and tried to engage him in conversation, using the man’s neighborhood nickname “Lil Mike,” the release said. The owner realized they were serious after Nelson and the accomplice allegedly threatened the owner, and opened the register for them.

Nelson and the accomplice, who remains at large, took an unspecified amount in cash and fled the store, the release said. Cook County Sheriff’s deputies tracked down and arrested Nelson Friday after the liquor store owner identified him in a photo line-up.

He is also charged with domestic battery and aggravated assault in a public place after allegedly threatening his girlfriend with bodily harm, choking her and putting a gun to her head shortly after the robbery, the release said.

Nelson was ordered held on $250,000 bond during a Sunday hearing, the release said. He is next scheduled to appear in court Jan. 3 at the Markham courthouse.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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