Prosecutors paint horrifying image of Lincoln Park armed robberies

Chicago police said they found this gun, extended magazine, and replica firearm in the suspects’ car after Tuesday’s robbery. | CPD

An armed robber placed a gun to an 18-year-old’s temple, racked the gun’s slide, and demanded the victim’s PIN during a horrifying hold-up in Lincoln Park this week, prosecutors said during a bond court hearing Friday.

Prosecutors gave a detailed account of the armed robbery that targeted a pair of college students and of the digital trail that the offenders allegedly created as they used the victims’ phones, credit cards, and electronic banking apps after the hold-up.

Left to right: Daijah Brown, Darvea McClay, Brittany Polk | CPD

Daijah Brown, 19, Darvea McClay, 18, Brittany Polk, 22, and a 17-year-old male juvenile are each charged with two counts of armed robbery in connection with the hold-up that targeted two 18-year-old male college students Tuesday evening. McClay is also charged with unlawful use of a weapon and a similar armed robbery in Lincoln Square last month.

During Friday’s bond hearing, prosecutors said McClay and the juvenile stopped the two victims as they walked in the 2600 block of North Greenview and demanded their wallets and phones. According to the allegations, the juvenile held a gun to one victim’s head while McClay pressed a hard object – believed to be a handgun – to the other victim’s back. 

After getting the men’s valuables, McClay and the teen allegedly demanded the victims’ phone passwords. The juvenile then racked the slide of his handgun while pointing it at one victim’s temple and asked if the victim was sure that he gave them the right PIN, prosecutors said.

Shortly after the robbery, the foursome allegedly drove to a gas station in North Center where Brown bought $26 worth of gas for her car using one of the victims’ credit cards. The transaction was captured on surveillance video.

And someone used the victim’s Chase app to transfer $200 from his account to Polk, who is the juvenile gunman’s sibling, according to prosecutors. The other victim lost $343 in an unauthorized Venmo transfer around the same time.

While all that was happening, police tracked the crew down by following pings from one of the stolen phones. According to prosecutors, during a search of Brown’s vehicle, police found a 9-millimeter handgun with an extended magazine under McClay’s seat and a replica firearm under the juvenile’s seat. The victims’ phones, wallets, and other items were also recovered.

Prosecutors said McClay had one of the victim’s phones, and a photo of the victim was still being used as the device’s screen image. McClay had changed the password, they said.

Polk allegedly had the other phone, but she already installed a photo of herself as the lock screen image, according to prosecutors.

Back on October 29, prosecutors charged McClay and another man with misdemeanor theft after police pulled them over in Brown’s SUV and found proceeds from a similar armed robbery that had been reported a short time earlier, according to prosecutors and CPD records. 

McClay and the alleged accomplice were released on recognizance bonds about six hours later.

On Friday, prosecutors also charged McClay with another armed robbery that took place near Lincoln Square around 7 p.m. November 20.

In that case, a 26-year-old man who locked his bike to a street sign on the 5000 block of North Rockwell turned around and found two men standing behind him. Prosecutors said one of those men was McClay — and he had a gun pointed at the man’s face.

The robbers took the victim’s backpack containing an iPhone, Nintendo Switch gaming system, games, wallet, and clothes, prosecutors alleged. McClay ordered the victim to surrender his phone passcode. A few minutes later, Apple notified the man that his phone passcode had been changed and Find My iPhone was deactivated.

Around that time, a man who allegedly looks like McClay used one of the man’s credit cards to buy gas at a nearby gas station.

Then, this: Someone used the victim’s phone to transfer his money to an Apple Pay account with an email address that — should you type it into Facebook or YouTube — pulls up McClay’s pages, prosecutors said.

And people on the victim’s contact list began receiving messages from his phone asking them to send $100 to McClay’s Apple Pay account, according to prosecutors.  The victim tracked the email address to McClay and notified police. He also identified McClay in a photo line-up as one of the men who robbed him, prosecutors said.

After hearing about the allegations, Judge Charles Beach ordered McClay held without bail. He set Brown’s bail at $250,000 and Polk’s at $150,000. The women must go on electronic monitoring if they can post deposit bonds equal to 10% of their bail amounts, he said.

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About CWBChicago 6779 Articles
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