Police are investigating three armed robberies of 7-Eleven stores that unfolded in under an hour Friday night on the North Side. The spree is part of a sharp increase in convenience store robberies that began last year as crews target the businesses for cigarettes and alcohol inventory as well as cash.
Friday’s robberies began around 10:20 p.m. when two gunmen men robbed the 7-Eleven at 2900 West Montrose in Albany Park. They took cash and liquor, then fled down a nearby alley, according to a police report.
About 20 minutes later, two men with guns robbed the store at 1055 West Bryn Mawr in Edgewater. The offenders reportedly forced the employees onto the floor, collected products and cash, then fled eastbound.
Next up? Lincoln Park. Just after 11 p.m., two men displayed firearms and robbed the store at 2600 North Lincoln. They were last seen heading southbound.
The robbers were generally described as two slender men who stand 5’5” to 5’8” tall. One is Black and the other was variously described as White, Hispanic, or Black with a light complexion. They wore black masks and sweats. Video shows one man’s pants were half-gray and half black.
Earlier this week, two men pointed a rifle at employees as they robbed a 7-Eleven in Little Italy. Those offenders also took cigarettes and liquor, according to a CPD report.
Three people have been charged with two separate convenience store robbery sprees during January.
Dorian Skipper, 38, and Jessica Short, 21, were charged with robbing four stores in the Loop, West Loop, and Avondale on January 14. This week, prosecutors charged Ivan Weldon with repeatedly targeting a single 7-Eleven store in the Loop between December and January.
Chicago Police Department data shows 186 convenience store robberies across the city last year, up from 104 in 2019. But the actual number of robberies is higher because convenience stores are often categorized as “small retail stores” or “grocery stores” in police records.
Convenience stores, which have strict cash control policies designed to minimize their attractiveness to robbers, are growing in popularity among criminals who are now drawn to the shops high-value tobacco and liquor inventories.