CALUMET CITY, Ill. (CBS) – Three suspects who led police on a chase, that began in Chicago, stopped at the River Oaks Mall in south suburban Calumet City to change clothes and avoid detection.
The suspects were apparently able to change their clothes and slip out before police could find them, sources told CBS 2’s Jermont Terry.
All this began when Chicago police began chasing the suspects onto the Bishop Ford Freeway, exiting on 159th and then arrived at the mall. The incident prompted a soft lockdown at the mall.
“They stopped the van at the front door and three boys ran in the mall,” said one witness.
Sean Howard, a spokesman for Calumet City, said it appeared when Chicago police were in pursuit of the suspects, there was “a lot of zig zagging on the expressway at a high rate of speed.”
Officers followed but it wasn’t clear which store the men ran into. Police surrounded every exit and gave orders to store managers. But police said they could not find the suspects after a thorough search of the mall and adjacent shopping areas.
“That’s when they came around and said ‘Pull your gates down,'” said Robin Haywood, a store owner in the mall. “We really thought it was going to be something temporary. Next thing you know, that was it.”
Chopper 2 was over the scene. Another witness told CBS 2 the police presence at the mall was what alerted her that something was going on.
Investigators focused their attention on a Volkswagen minivan which was ditched at the mall. Authorities towed the van away.
Police were still searching the scene for suspects around 6 p.m. as more customers were being let out of the building, although no one was being let in.
ll three suspects got away and remain on the run.
Chicago police did not say what prompted them to chase the minivan into Calumet City, though police there say there was no indication the trio had weapons.
Calumet City police are asking anyone with information to call 708-868-2500.