Saturday night at 8:51 p.m., a Subway restaurant at 407 S. Dearborn was robbed at gunpoint. The gunman took off on foot with about $400. Which is different from the time the Subway in Streamwood was robbed, yielding $237. Or in Batavia on November 23, or Elgin on December 2. Then there was this criminal genius:
A man tried to rob a northwest suburban Subway restaurant using a taxi as a getaway car — but ended up carjacking the taxi, leading police on a chase and then colliding with a school bus in Rogers Park Wednesday morning.
He didn't even succeed in the robbery, so if he hadn't stolen the cab, he'd have lost money. But if there's humor to be found in that one, there was none in the February 9 robbery of a in Village Subway which ended with employee Lyn Ward, 57, dying of a gunshot wound to the neck. The owner told reporters that it was the third robbery to date at that location.
Subway obviously isn't the only restaurant to get robbed, but as we look for news for the Mediavore column each morning, it does seem to turn up far more frequently than any other, or all others combined. Part of this is undoubtedly its ubiquity: with 27,000 U.S. locations and over 36,000 worldwide, it's statistically a big target. But lots of other fast food brands are all over too, and open the same hours. Do criminals target Subway because they eat at Subway a lot and are familiar with it? We can imagine its low prices leading to such familiarity (at least for the criminal set who are willing to pull a gun to get away with such paltry hauls). But still, you could make the same argument for Taco Bell, say, and we don't remember anybody robbing a Taco Bell in as long as we've been paying attention to this.
Nevertheless, the Subway crime connection does point out that while fast food employment is often a starting point for people in disadvantaged neighborhoods (or anywhere; we did our time flipping Quarter Pounders too) toward the world of work and success, it can also be a danger to put young people, or anybody, in a work situation combining late hours, cash on hand and lack of security on site. If Subway is disproportionately the target of crime, then Subway needs to think less about opening stores as quickly as possible, and more about ensuring the safety of the people who work there in Chicagoland and all over the world.