A Rosemont Police sergeant has been arrested and charged for his involvement in the armed robbery of two different gas stations. 40-year-old Edwar Karas was arrested by Norridge police along with a 48-year-old man from Chicago, Wright O’Laughlin. The pair robbed an Exxon gas station in Norridge and a Shell gas station in Park Ridge early Wednesday morning.
According to Park Ridge Deputy Chief Duane Mellema, Karas is believed to be the getaway driver while O’Laughlin is suspected of being the masked gunman.
The pair was arrested at 2 am Thursday when a Park Ridge police sergeant recognized their black GMC SUV. Their vehicle matched the description of the vehicle that was used to rob the Exxon gas station the previous morning. The pair were brought to the Norridge Police Department, where Norridge and Park Ridge detectives, in addition to Cook County state’s attorney’s office officials and investigators, got enough evidence to charge both for armed robbery, police said. A suspected weapon and other evidence was also recovered. According to the Chicago Tribune:
After it pulled into the parking lot of a Rosemont 7-Eleven, 9501 Higgins Road, two people got out who appeared to be “somewhat similar’’ to surveillance photos police already had, including their clothing, and Karas began chatting with the sergeant, even identifying himself as a police officer, Mellema said.
The officer’s suspicions weren’t swayed. He called for backup and officers from Norridge and Rosemont appeared on the scene to take them into custody.
“It’s disappointing,’’ said Mellema of Karas’ arrest.
“As police officers, we sit in a place where public trust is of the utmost importance,’’ Mellema said. “It makes it hard for those of us who are still trying to do an honest job.’’
“I am extremely disappointed in the actions of Edward Karas,” Rosemont Police Chief Donald E. Stephens III said. “We do not tolerate this misconduct in this department, nor this profession. This does not reflect on the hardworking, dedicated and honest officers that go out of their way each and every day to provide exceptional service to the community.”
Rosemont Police Sergeant Joe Balogh said Karas was on administrative leave at the time of the robberies. He had been placed on leave since June 11 and stripped of his police powers because of an unrelated pending internal investigation. He was originally hired as a public safety officer in 2005. Rosemont police say they are moving forward with termination proceedings regarding the unrelated internal investigation.