Man charged with attacking currency exchange worker and her son - FOX 35 News Orlando

Man charged with attacking currency exchange worker and her son

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Joel West, 30 Joel West, 30
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A currency exchange employee who brought her 7-year-old son to work Saturday morning was attacked by a man who dropped out of the ceiling and held her at knife-point, a prosecutor said.

Joel West, 30, of the 6600 block of South Oakley, was charged with aggravated battery and armed robbery after police said he was identified by the 44-year-old victim as the man who robbed the currency exchange at 31st and Wallace in Bridgeport, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dibler said West's alleged victim arrived at the currency exchange about 8 a.m. with her 7-year-old son. That's when West allegedly dropped out of the ceiling, causing a ceiling panel to drop in front of the victim and her son, Dibler said.

West walked up to them, holding a knife, and demanded the victim open a security door, Dibler said. The victim refused, so West allegedly grabbed and punched her and held a knife to her chin, creating a puncture wound, Dibler said

West took the victim's keys, grabbed her son and walked toward the security door as the victim begged him to let go of her son, Dibler said. He did, but he ordered the victim over to the security door, Dibler said.

Eventually the man fled and the victim called 911, Dibler said. Police later found him sitting in the rear stairwell of a building in the 500 block of West 31st. He was changing clothes and a mask was next to him on the stairs, according to a police report.

He tried to flee again barefoot — suffering minor cuts and bruises to his hands and legs from jumping over fences — but was eventually arrested and identified by the victim by his clothing, according to police and prosecutors.

On Sunday, Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois ordered West held in lieu of $250,000.

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