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ONLY ON 2: Man Poses As Customer Before Robbing Southwest Side Hot Dog Stand And Then Apologizes; He Is Suspected In 3 More Robberies Nearby

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A holdup at a Garfield Ridge neighborhood hot dog shop was caught on video, and police are linking the man with a gun to a string of armed robberies.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported Thursday night, near Midway International Airport at the corner of Austin and Archer avenues sits Nicky's Hot Dogs. It has been in business since 1967.

"The amount of love we've gotten is tremendous," said owner Angelo Lilas.

Lilas took the business over from his pops 10 years ago.

"So many people come to us," he said.

Yet when one guy walked in last week to take an order, he took Lilas by surprise.

"He starts ordering a double burger," Lilas said. "I asked him what he want on it, you know, he says add a fry."

The man even paid. But right when Lilas opened the cash register, the paying customer became an armed robber.

"I ended up diving to the right because I thought this guy was going to shoot me," Lilas said.

Video showed the robber yelling, "Give me the money right now!"

And before walking out with cash, the robber also said something that left Lilas even more perplexed.

"I'm like, is this guy apologizing to me right now? I'm like, how are you robbing me and apologizing to me?" Lilas said. "That's why to a certain degree, I'm thinking this guy's really desperate."

Desperate or not, he is definitely busy. Chicago Police have linked the same man to four armed robberies within a matter of days – all of them having taken place at mom-and-pop businesses along the Archer Avenue corridor, including an ice cream shop nearby.

Nicky's at 6142 S. Archer Ave. was robbed at 4:09 p.m. this past Monday. The other robberies took place at 10:28 p.m. Wednesday, April 14 in the 6500 block of West Archer Avenue; 8:35 p.m. Friday, April 16 in the 5600 block of South Harlem Avenue; and 4:28 p.m. Monday, April 19 in the 6300 block of West 55th Street.

[scribd id=505538928 key=key-GU2bAks4zPsZciTAChZ7 mode=scroll]

Surveillance images show the man walking into Nicky's from the parking lot.

Nicky's Hot Dogs Robber Surveillance
A surveillance image of a suspect in the robbery of four businesses in the Garfield Ridge community. (Supplied to CBS 2)
Nicky's Hot Dogs Robber Surveillance
A surveillance image of a suspect in the robbery of four businesses in the Garfield Ridge community. (Supplied to CBS 2)

"The businesses along Archer just have to be on alert, because this guy might be on the prowl again," Lilas said. "You know, if this guy is same guy that's connected to other robberies, who's really safe at this point until this guy gets captured?"

Security cameras and even customers inside have yet to stop the apologetic bandit from striking.

"It just stuck into my mind that this guy's apologizing to me right now, but it doesn't make what he did any better," Lilas said.

It is believed that the robber is targeting small businesses like Nicky's, which does not accept debit or credit cards, because he knows there is more cash in the register.

Thankfully, no one has been injured – but the fear is the robber might use his weapon.

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