On March 12, 2017 at about 11:30 a.m., officers from the Rockford Police Department were sent to St. Paul Lutheran Church, 811 Locust Street, in reference to a robbery complaint. They spoke with a female victim who stated she was in the parking lot of the church when she was approached by a white male suspect. The suspect allegedly told the victim that he would shoot her if she did not give him her purse. The victim complied and the suspect fled in an unknown direction. The victim was able to provide a detailed description of the suspect.
At around 8:00 p.m., Rockford Police officers were dispatched to a residence in the 700 block of Cherry Street in reference to subjects trespassing in an abandoned residence. Upon arrival, officers located a male and a female inside an abandoned residence. The male was identified as 33-year-old Rockford resident, Thomas Ridenbaugh. Officers noticed that Ridenbaugh matched the description of the suspect in the robbery at St. Paul Lutheran Church. He was transported to the Public Safety Building where he was interviewed by SCOPE officers. The female was released without charge.
The case was reviewed with Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office who authorized charges of Robbery against Ridenbaugh. He was lodged in the Winnebago County Jail. A photo is attached.
This is an ongoing investigation. No further information is available at this time.
The charges against Ridenbaugh are merely accusations. He should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
On Sunday, March 12, 2017 at about 1138 hours, 20 year old victim advised she was walking into church from the north parking lot when she was approached by an unknown white male suspect near a vehicle in the middle of the parking lot. The suspect demanded her purse or he would shoot her. The suspect forcefully removed the purse from her shoulder and fled south around the church on foot. No gun was seen only implied. K-9 Officer Geiken assisted with a track and was able to locate the cellular telephone and charger belonging to the victim.
Just after noon today a broadcast came over the scanner in reference to someone that was robbed at a Rockford church. A woman was robbed at a Rockford church in the 800 block of Loomis. The suspect is a white male with a mole on his lip, 6 foot, 180 lbs, and wearing a stocking cap. Last seen on foot in the area with the victims purse. No other information