Elgin man accused of payday loan hold-ups across suburbs
A 38-year-old Elgin man is charged with a slew of armed robberies of short-term loan stores and other establishments, including six in Elgin, after being arrested by Aurora police last week, authorities said.
Fernando D. Zavala, of the 200 block of North Clifford Street, is due in Kane County court on July 13. Authorities say he robbed some of the same places twice, and last week he was caught robbing two places in one day.
Zavala was arrested last Friday by Aurora police, who then contacted Elgin because he matched the suspect description in several holdups.
Police said Zavala tied himself to numerous Elgin robberies, including: La Hacienda, 836 Walnut Ave., on Aug. 14, 2011; Armando's Supermarket, 925 N. Liberty St., on Oct. 27, 2011; Pay Day Loan Store, 268 S. State St., on Nov. 11, 2011, and March 7, 2012; Cash Store, 300 S. McLean Blvd., on Nov. 30, 2011 and May 25, 2012.
"We're confident we've charged the right man. He implicated himself in those robberies," said Elgin Police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault. "We had no knowledge of Mr. Zavala (being a suspect). He had no prior criminal history at all. They were all very similar robberies. Most of them were the payday loan places. His M.O. was pretty much the same."
Theriault said no one was injured in any of the robberies; he declined say how much money was stolen.
According to court records, Zavala also is charged with an armed robbery in East Dundee on Jan. 18, 2012.
Aurora police spokesman Dan Ferrelli said Zavala was arrested at about 4:30 p.m. June 22 after a short chase. Officers responded to a holdup alarm at the Check-N-Go, 1276 N. Lake St., after a man entered the store and showed two female clerks a gun, which turned out to be a toy. The man took money from cashier drawers and ordered them to open the safe.
But the clerks told him the safe was equipped with 10-minute delay, so he ran out the back of the store, police said.
After a short chase, officers arrested Zavala and found $1,070, along with the toy gun, police said.
Ferrelli said detectives questioned Zavala and were able to tie him to a similar robbery earlier that day at the Payday Loan Store, 954 E. New York St. He is accused of holding up the store at 1:15 p.m. and stealing $3,500 from cashier drawers and a safe, police said.
Zavala also faces aggravated armed robbery charges in Hoffman Estates. He held up a Check-N-Go, 2547 W. Golf Road, on Dec. 30, 2011, said Hoffman Estates Sgt. Darin Felgenhauer.
Aurora police also said that charges were pending or had been filed for armed robberies in DeKalb, Streamwood and Hillside.
Each of the armed robbery charges is felony punishable by four to 15 years in prison.
Zavala is being held at the Kane County jail on $1.2 million bail, meaning he must post $120,000 in order to be free while his case is pending.
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