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Evanston police say two stores were held up in different business districts just minutes apart late this afternoon.

The first incident happened at 1630 Orrington Ave. downtown about 4:30 p.m. where a man described as a skinny male black in his 50s with a gun in his waistband demanded money, but apparently left without getting any. That address is listed as the Close Knit yarn shop.

The would-be robber fled north on foot. He was reportedly wearing a blue shirt and jeans. Someone calling from a nearby office building told police that the robber might be hiding on the roof of Andy’s Frozen Custard nearby on Church Street. But that turned out to just be a air conditioner repair man working on the roof

About 4:45 p.m. police received a call from 920 Chicago Ave. saying a robber, also a skinny black male, with a gun in his waistband, but a little older and wearing different clothes, had taken $300 from the Junior League Thrift House.

Police halted CTA train traffic for a while to search for both robbers, but so far have not located either one.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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