Trending Topics

Man who overpowered 2 guards in Ill. still at large

By Georgia Garvey and Richard Wronski
Chicago Tribune

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. — A violent “career offender” from Elk Grove Village remained at large late Thursday, fleeing a future that looked bleak even before he overpowered two guards, took their guns and triggered a manhunt across the northwest suburbs.

Robert Maday, 39, was facing more than 25 years behind bars as he was driven, hands and legs shackled, in the rear of a sedan from the Kankakee County Jail to the Rolling Meadows Courthouse. In recent months, he had pleaded guilty to a litany of state and federal robbery charges.

But just miles from the courthouse, Maday got the better of two Cook County state’s attorney investigators and escaped, setting off a daylong search that stretched into the night as police used tracking dogs and helicopters and residents remained on edge.

Late Thursday, investigators said they thought that Maday was still in the area and cautioned residents that he is “extremely armed and dangerous.”

“We have reason to believe he is still in the area and we are concentrating our search in the northwest suburbs,” said John O’Malley, chief deputy of the U.S. marshal’s office in Chicago.

Maday managed to get the gun from the officer next to him as they were driving on Interstate Highway 90 and approaching Arlington Heights Road about 9:45 a.m., said Ralph DeWitt, chief investigator for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Maday threatened to kill the men, so they complied with his order to pull over in the parking lot of a Meijer store in Rolling Meadows.

“He threatened them both with death and had them drive off the road,” said DeWitt. “This has been a horrendous experience for the investigators.”

Maday handcuffed the investigators inside the sedan and traded his orange jumpsuit for the pants and shoes of one of the investigators, DeWitt said. He went into the store with the wallet and money of one of the men and purchased clothing and water. While inside, the men escaped using a hidden handcuff key.

When Maday left the store and saw that the officers weren’t in the car, he stole a woman’s Mazda SUV at gunpoint and raced off, only to abandon that vehicle a short time later in the parking lot of a Boston Blackie’s restaurant at 222 E. Algonquin Rd. in Arlington Heights.

Officers said two police dogs tracked the fugitive’s scent about a hundred yards from the SUV to an apartment unit in the Ashton Condominiums, where Maday once lived in 2300 block of South Goebbert Road.

Dozens of police including snipers and SWAT team members surrounded the building early in the afternoon. But when they entered the complex about 3 p.m., Maday could not be found, authorities said.

Police searched the multiple building complex, and some residents later complained their doors had been kicked down and their apartments thrown into disarray.

Alex Mwansa, 39, who came home from work to find his apartment had been searched, shook his head and said, “No good.”

Maday was expected to be sentenced Thursday to 13 years in prison for a series of robberies with a toy gun in Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg, prosecutors said. And he likely faced at least 15 years more in federal prison following a guilty plea to charges in three 2008 suburban bank robberies.

Maday is no stranger to jail. He was convicted May 19, 1987, of escape in Dade County, Fla., and sentenced to 5 years in prison.

He was also sentenced to 10 years in prison on another batch of charges, including robbery, kidnapping and burglary. Maday was released from Florida Department of Corrections on June 11, 1991. Two years later, he was convicted of recklessly endangering another person and open lewdness in Dauphin County, Pa., and sentenced to 12 months of probation. On Aug. 9, 1994, he was convicted of robbing a bank in Pennsylvania and sentenced to 150 months in prison and 48 months of supervised release.

Freelance reporters George Houde and Carolyn Rusin contributed to this report; it was written by Tribune reporter John Byrne

Copyright 2009 Chicago Tribune Company