Police: Rosemont cop was getaway driver in two gas station robberies
A Rosemont police sergeant and a Chicago man have been arrested by Norridge police and charged with the armed robbery of two gas stations, authorities said Saturday.
Sgt. Edward Karas, 40, who joined the Rosemont Public Safety Department in 2005, and Wright O'Laughlin, 48, of Chicago are accused of robbing an Exxon gas station in Norridge and a Shell gas station in Park Ridge early Wednesday morning.
The men were arrested about 2 a.m. Thursday after a Park Ridge police sergeant recognized their black GMC SUV as the same vehicle suspected in the Exxon robbery the previous morning. Each has been charged with aggravated armed robbery in Cook County.
Park Ridge Deputy Chief Duane Mellema said Saturday that, based on the investigation, police believe O'Laughlin wore a ski mask and entered the gas stations with a real gun and demanded money.
Karas, he said, is believed to be the getaway driver.
Karas had been placed on administrative leave June 11 and stripped of his police powers at that time due to an unrelated pending internal investigation, Rosemont Sgt. Joe Balogh said.
Balogh declined to provide any information regarding the internal investigation, calling it a personnel issue.
The department, however, is moving to fire Karas related to the internal investigation.
Rosemont police assisted Norridge police in identifying Karas, and when Karas was located at 9501 Higgins Road by Park Ridge police, Rosemont units assisted in taking him into custody and turning him over to the Norridge police.
"I am extremely disappointed in the actions of Edward Karas," Rosemont police Superintendent Donald E. Stephens III said in the written statement. "This does not reflect on the hard working, dedicated, and honest officers that go out of their way each and every day to provide exceptional service to this community. … Edward Karas will be held accountable for his actions and will have his day in court."