Van Theft, Robbery, Manhunt: Suspect at Large After Armed Robbery at Gurnee Mills Portillo’s

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Eric Gatlin, suspected of vehicle theft and armed robbery in Lake County (SOURCE: Grayslake Police Department)
Eric Gatlin, suspected of vehicle theft and armed robbery in Lake County (SOURCE: Grayslake Police Department).

The Grayslake police department on Monday night, October 24, 2022 is seeking any information regarding the whereabouts of a subject that was involved in multiple incidents in the northern Lake and Cook County area within the last several hours, according Grayslake Police Department. The suspect has been connected to a stolen van taken from Round Lake Beach, and an armed robbery in Gurnee. Details of other recent incidents connected to the suspect in northern Lake and Cook County were not specified by police.

The wanted suspect is identified as Eric J. Gatlin, age 43. He is described as a male/black 5’11” 230 LBS, bald with brown eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a blue Chicago Bears sweatshirt.

Gatlin is suspected of having had possessed at least one stolen vehicle, and committing armed robbery. Gatlin is the reason for a manhunt over several hours in the Grayslake, Hainsville, and Round Lake Beach area.

The manhunt also caused several soft lockdowns to be activated at area schools …

Meadowview School, 291 Lexington Lane, Grayslake,

Avon Center School, 1617 IL-83, Round Lake Beach,

Grayslake District 127 schools, and

Lake County Tech Campus.

The soft lockdowns were activated when there was a report of a sighting of Gatlin in the area.

According to the Grayslake Police Department, Gatlin was last seen driving a white Ford transit van, which was later discovered to have been stolen from the Round Lake Beach Goodwill, located at 2351 N. Route 83 in Round Lake Beach at approximately 12:30 p.m. Gatlin currently may be driving a white Ford transit van or a gold sedan, according to the Grayslake Police Department. As of 1:30 p.m., the suspect was believed to have been observed in the Gurnee area.

Round Lake Beach is about 8 miles (or 15 minutes) from Gurnee Mills. The van theft may have occurred earlier than the reported approximate time of 12:30 p.m. because a robbery at the Gurnee Mills Portillo’s is believed to have been committed by the same suspect at 12:29 p.m.

An offender, believed to be Gatlin, committed armed robbery at the Portillo’s at Gurnee Mills about 12:29 p.m. Monday, October 24, 2022.

According to the Gurnee Police Department, on October 24, 2022, at 12:30 p.m., Gurnee Police received a call of an armed robbery at Portillo’s restaurant. Within three minutes, a police officer assigned to the Gurnee Mills, and additional police officers arrived on the scene at the Gurnee Mills Portillo’s, but the offender was gone. The robbery victim alleged that a black male driver pulled into the drive-thru lane, displayed a handgun, and took his cash before departing the area. No one was injured during the interaction.

Police officers immediately identified the armed robbery suspect’s vehicle as the stolen white Ford cargo van out of Round Lake Beach. According to Gurnee Police Department, a person of interest has been identified as Eric Gatlin, 43 years old, out of Grayslake. Gatlin has active warrants out of Lake County, IL. He is described as 5’11, 230 lbs., and is considered armed and dangerous.

The robbery case remains under investigation by Gurnee Police.

An earlier police communication report indicated the offender took $1,000 cash in the robbery, and then fled out a back entrance of the restaurant (possibly meaning the back driveway entrance). The offender then drove away in a white Ford cargo van toward Stearns School Road, according to the earlier report.

Grayslake Police Department filed charges against Eric Gatlin today, Monday, October 24, 2022. The charges include …

Armed Habitual Criminal (2 counts),

Possession of a Stolen Firearm,

Felon Possessing a Weapon, and

Felon Possessing a Weapon Prior

As of 8:20 p.m. no charges were filed for robbery in the Lake County Circuit Court system.

Gatlin has an active order of protection and a history of violating orders of protection and domestic battery.

Anyone with information about the suspect is urged to contact the Grayslake Police Department at 847–223–2341.

Citizens are also advised not to approach the suspect.

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