Owner of unlicensed Cook County dispensary charged after allegedly brandishing gun in store

The owner of an unlicensed cannabis dispensary in northwest suburban Des Plaines is facing aggravated assault charges after he allegedly racked a weapon inside the business while customers were present.

Daniel J. Nardo, 33, of Des Plaines, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of disorderly conduct in connection with the incident on Thursday, according to a statement from police.

About 1:41 p.m., officers were sent to UP Cannabis Dispensary, located at 1173 South Elmhurst Road, after a 22-year-old woman reported that Nardo, the owner and sole employee, was inside the business ingesting helium and racked what appeared to be a shotgun, the statement said.

Officers met the woman at a different location, where she told police her and a 20-year-old male friend went to the unlicensed dispensary to purchase cannabis. Once inside, the woman said they saw Nardo ingesting what they thought to be helium or nitrous oxide.

Daniel J. Nardo, 33. (Des Plaines police)

The 20-year-old man was on his phone while the pair approached the counter, and began laughing at the conversation he was having, at which time he walked out of the store, according to police.

While the woman was still at the checkout counter, police said Nardo became angry and stated, "what's so funny" and "I'm like that," referring to being a gangster, officials said. Nardo then went into the rear of the shop and returned with what appeared to be a shotgun.

Police said Nardo racked the gun and pointed it towards the entrance of the business where the man had just exited, then put the weapon down when the 20-year-old re-entered the shop.

Nardo allegedly became irate again and racked the weapon several more times, police said. The victims left money for their purchase on the counter and left the business before calling the police.

Police established a perimeter around the business and spoke with Nardo for several hours before he exited the business around 5:13 p.m. and was taken into custody.

A search warrant of the business yielded several replica/air-soft type guns, including one long-gun style replica which could be racked, according to police. Investigators also reportedly found several empty cans of nitrous oxide in a garbage can.

Nardo was processed, cited, and released from the Des Plaines Police Department. His next court date is scheduled for July 10.