A teenage suspect on a bicycle who held up two separate runners on the Poplar Creek bike trial in Hoffman Estates Wednesday afternoon.
Both victims were running alone along the popular paved path when the suspect approached them and demanded their cellphones while armed with what appeared to be a handgun.
The suspect robbed the first runner on the bike path west of Barrington Road and north of Bode Road at 12:15 p.m., and robbed a second runner at 2:50 p.m. around the same area, said Cook County Forest Preserve Police spokeswoman Karen Vaughan.
Officers from the Cook County sheriff's department, the Hoffman Estates and Streamwood police departments and an Arlington Heights canine unit assisted the forest preserve police in their search, which continued for a couple of hours. A police search helicopter also was used as authorities continued to look for the suspect. Officers on bikes planned to patrol the area throughout the night in search of the suspect.
Neither victim was injured during the armed robberies, and there was not a struggle during either robbery, according to Vaughan. As of late Wednesday, police said the suspect had not been caught.
"We hope this is an isolated incident," Vaughan said. "It's very rare. The types of crime that we see typically in the forest preserve are not violent at all."
Vaughan said "without a doubt" the armed robbery was the first the police department has seen in the area in the past 10 years.
Police could not confirm that the weapon was a firearm, but the victims said it appeared to be a handgun.
"Generally the forest preserve district is very safe. We have our own police unit; they are out patrolling our paths and trails," Vaughan said.