Armed robber targeting convenience stores in River North, Gold Coast

The 7-Eleven store at 645 North Kingsbury | Google

The armed robbery of a River North convenience store this morning appears to be the latest in a series of similar crimes committed by the same offender. It’s also part of a larger citywide trend where robbers target cigarette inventory rather than strictly cash during hold-ups at 7-Elevens and similar stores.

This morning’s robbery unfolded around 7:15 a.m. at 7-Eleven, 645 North Kingsbury. A man entered the store, brandished a knife, threatened the employees, and fled with cigarettes. He was last seen heading eastbound on Ontario Street, carrying a red and yellow bag.

Video footage shows the man to be Black, in his mid-20’s, and wearing a blue surgical mask with a dark-colored hoodie, blue pants, and black shoes. 

That description is similar to one police released in a community alert this week about identical robberies in the area. Area Three detectives said in Thursday’s bulletin that a man armed with a knife has been threatening employees and stealing unspecified merchandise from stores over the past week. 

One of the earlier incidents occurred at 45 East Chicago last Friday evening. The other was reported at 1036 North Dearborn on Monday morning. Both of those stores are 7-Eleven locations.

Anyone with information about the suspect can contact detectives at 312-744-8263 regarding pattern P20-3-186.

CWBChicago reported on September 29 that convenience store robberies were up 100% in the city this year, putting 2020 on-pace to be the worst year for such crimes since at least 2001.

Police reports indicate that, while robbers often take the stores’ unsecured cash, they are also taking large volumes of high-priced merchandise, particularly cigarettes and cigars. The tobacco products are easily resold on the black market, according to police sources.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com