AVONDALE — A Chicago man accused of wielding a machete while robbing people in a nine-day spree has been charged in connection with three armed robberies — and police are investigating his potential link to seven similar attacks.
Andre Gonzalez, 35, of the 10700 block of South Avenue C, was charged with four felony counts of armed robbery in three machete attacks in the Avondale area in recent days. Gonzalez, who has six prior armed robbery convictions, was denied bail in court Wednesday.
A remaining seven attacks are still under investigation, police and prosecutors said.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said Wednesday police are working to determine if all of the reported machete attacks are connected, and if Gonzalez is responsible for all of them.
“Our work is not done,” Brown told reporters at a news conference.
Prosecutors said Gonzalez was on a “one-man crime spree, wreaking havoc across Chicago.”
Around 9 p.m. June 3, two women — a 22-year-old and 56-year-old — were walking home from dinner in the 4000 block of West Eddy Street when Gonzalez pulled up in a four-door sedan, took out a machete and demanded their belongings, prosecutors said. One of the women “froze,” and the other woman surrendered a purse to Gonzalez, according to prosecutors.
On June 4, Gonzalez attacked another woman — a 31-year-old — walking home in 3000 block of North Haussen Court, prosecutors said. Like the day before, the man pulled out a machete and ordered the woman to hand over her belongings. He made off with the woman’s bag and cell phone, prosecutors said.
Around 9 p.m. the following day, Gonzalez struck a third time in the 3700 block of North Troy Street. A 52-year-old heard a car close behind him and Gonzalez came up from behind with a machete and demanded the man’s money, prosecutors said.
A struggle ensued between Gonzalez and the man, during which Gonzalez swung his machete at the man while standing over him, prosecutors said. During the struggle, the man threw his wallet and a pizza he was holding at the time of the attack next to some parked cars. Gonzalez took the wallet — and the pizza — and fled the scene, according to prosecutors.
All four victims identified Gonzalez as the assailant in lineups, prosecutors said.
Police teamed up with the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Take Force to arrest Gonzalez Monday in the 10800 block of South Avenue B after using liquor store surveillance footage to determine that he used the Haussen Court victim’s credit cards four times, prosecutors said. The footage also captured Gonzalez’s license plate.
Gonzalez’s defense attorney, however, argued these attacks occurred at night “in a matter of seconds” and questioned why police didn’t find a machete on Gonzalez when they apprehended him. Gonzalez is a father of four who works as a mover and lives with his girlfriend, his attorney said.
But Cook County Judge Mary C. Marubio said Gonzalez is a danger to the community and denied him bail Wednesday.
Gonzalez has been convicted of armed robberies six times in the past, most recently in 2016. He was on bail for a pending identity theft case when he was arrested this week, prosecutors said.
“To say that these are violent offenses is actually an understatement,” Marubio said. “A machete is a vicious, dangerous weapon, and you swung it at at least one of these victims.”
“This isn’t a situation where I can put a restriction on keeping you away from a specific person. These are random people in the community that you’ve preyed upon with weapons, going back to 2016.”
Several other armed robberies have been reported in the Avondale and Irving Park area since May 29, all but one of them involving a man with a machete. They occurred:
- 7:58 p.m. May 27 in the 3000 block of North Christiana Avenue
- 11:45 p.m. May 30 in the 3200 block of North Monticello Avenue
- 11:45 p.m. May 30 in the 2800 block of North Francisco Avenue
- sometime between 11:45 p.m. May 30 and 12:10 a.m. May 31 in the 4100 block of West Fletcher Street
- 9 p.m. Friday in the 3300 block of North Monticello Avenue
- 8:20 p.m. Saturday in the 3000 block of North Christiana Avenue
- 8:52 p.m. Saturday in the 4100 block of West Wellington Avenue
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