Authorities: Man stole money, punched police dog while fleeing officer

A Warren Township man faces criminal charges after he stole money from a Mundelein man, then punched a Lake County police dog while trying to run away, authorities said Monday.

Chester A. Biggs Jr., 39, of the 33000 block of North 2nd Avenue, is charged with felony robbery and theft for stealing money from the victim near the 31000 block of Route 45, authorities said. He also faces misdemeanor charges of criminal damage to property, resisting a peace officer and striking a police animal, authorities said.

If found guilty at trial, Biggs could be sentenced up to 7 years in prison. He remains held in Lake County jail on $50,000 bail, authorities said.

A 25-year-old victim told police Biggs asked for money outside of a motel about 3 a.m. July 1, authorities said. When the victim handed over some cash, Biggs snatched more money from the victim and ran away, authorities said.

The victim chased Biggs for a short distance before calling police.

Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy John Forlenza and his police dog partner, Dax, arrived and tracked Biggs and found him in the backyard of a nearby residence, authorities said.

Biggs refused to follow Forlenza’s instructions, then attempted to run by climbing a fence in the backyard, authorities said. Forlenza released Dax, who bit Biggs in the leg an effort to apprehend him. Biggs punched Dax before being taken into custody, authorities said.

Biggs was transported by ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for treatment from the police dog bite. After his release, he was taken to jail, authorities said.

This is the 55th time Dax has assisted officers with capturing a fleeing suspect or searching for missing people since being assigned to the sheriff’s office in March 2015, authorities said.

“Police dog Dax and Deputy John Forlenza have a reputation of being able to successfully locate fleeing offenders and missing people,” Sheriff Mark Curran said. “Our four canine teams are invaluable in assisting deputies during critical incidents.”

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