ROBBER OVERPOWERS GUARDS, ESCAPES IN NORTHWEST SUBURBS
BY DAN ROZEK, STEFANO ESPOSITO AND TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporters
An escaped robber armed with two handguns remained on the run late Thursday after police SWAT teams hunting him came up empty during an afternoon search of an Arlington Heights apartment building.
But heavily armed police are expected to continue searching through the night for 39-year-old Robert Maday, who earlier overpowered two law officers and took their weapons as he was being driven to a court hearing in Rolling Meadows.
The disturbing escape from an unmarked police car appeared to have been a desperate -- but planned attempt -- by a career criminal eager to avoid two lengthy prison terms, law enforcement sources said.
Despite being handcuffed and shackled, Maday managed to take a handgun from the Cook County state's attorney's investigator sitting next to him in the back seat, authorities said. He then allegedly used the weapon to force the second investigator to drive the car off I-90 and into the parking lot of a suburban department store.
"He threatened them both with death and had them drive off the road," said Ralph DeWitt, the state's attorney's chief investigator.
Maday swapped his orange jail uniform with the pants and shoes he took from one investigator, handcuffed the two men in their car, then fled into the Meijer Store in Rolling Meadows, authorities said.
He then allegedly carjacked another vehicle at gunpoint from the parking lot, and abandoned it a few miles away near Arlington Heights and Algonquin roads in Arlington Heights, not far from an apartment building where he once had lived.
Police later surrounded and searched that building, but didn't find Maday.
Late Thursday, Maday was still believed to be hiding somewhere in the northwest suburban area, said John O'Malley, chief deputy of the U.S. Marshal's office here.
The U.S. Marshal's office is offering a "substantial reward" for information leading to his capture, but officials declined to say how much.
The escape began about 9:45 a.m. as Maday was being driven to a hearing where he was expected to be sentenced to 13 years in prison for four robberies and an attempted robbery he committed last year in Schaumburg.
A law enforcement source said the same two officers -- one a retired Chicago Police officer -- previously had transported Maday, who was being housed in the Kankakee County Jail. Maday was jailed there while he awaited another double-digit prison sentence after pleading guilty to three federal bank robbery charges.
The two investigators were "still being debriefed" late Thursday, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, adding the escape likely will trigger an internal review of how prisoners are transported by that office -- a procedure done routinely.
Most transfers are done in cars that lack a barrier between front and back seats, she said. In those cars, regulations require one officer to ride in back with the prisoner while the other drives.
Though he was handcuffed, Maday apparently "lunged at the investigator and was able to surprise him," Daly said.
After Maday escaped, the two officers used an extra key to free themselves from the handcuffs and sound the alarm, DeWitt said.