A robbery and theft team that has raided 7-Eleven convenience stores for cigarettes and liquor struck four more times within an hour on Thursday morning — in River North, then the West Loop, and then two more times in Avondale. No arrests have been made.
The crew’s latest spree began around 8 a.m. when they went behind the counter and stole a “large amount” of tobacco and alcohol products from the 7-Eleven at 343 North LaSalle, according to a CPD report.
About 20 minutes later, the same two offenders entered 7-Eleven at 567 West Lake in the West Loop. They pushed the female cashier and prevented her from activating the store’s hold-up alarm as they collected booze and smokes.
They then headed to Avondale and did the same thing at the convenience store chain’s 3600 West Belmont and 3005 North Pulaski locations, CPD reports show.
According to surveillance images, one of Thursday’s offenders is a Black male who’s about 40-years-old. He wore a black mask, a dark jacket with a fur hood, dark pants, and dark shoes. The other is a White woman who wore pink pants or leggings, a black jacket, black shoes, and a blue mask.
They were again seen leaving the scenes in an older-model dark blue or black Ford Expedition. Previous crimes in the pattern have involved up to three offenders.
Last Friday afternoon, they robbed the 7-Eleven store at 801 South State.
Four stores were hit by the crew in a couple of hours on January 2. They first targeted 7-Eleven’s store at 201 East Ohio in Streeterville around 8:45 p.m. Minutes later, they did it again at 645 North Kingsbury in River North. And at 10:30, they struck the store at 177 North Wells in the Loop.
Police spotted the Expedition crossing the Chicago River a few minutes after the third incident. Officers pulled the SUV over in River North and approached the vehicle with guns drawn. But the driver sped away again.
He stopped for a few minutes in the West Loop so the crew could raid one more store at 627 West Jackson, according to a CPD report.
Officers who pulled the SUV over in River North said the driver is a Black male over 50-years-old. He wore a dark stocking cap with a dark coat, an officer said.
Police warned businesses about the crew in an alert last weekend.
Anyone with information about the crimes can contact Area Three detectives at 312-744-8263 regarding pattern P21-3-009.
Convenience store robberies, which have traditionally netted only small amounts of money, are skyrocketing in Chicago as criminals turn their attention to the stores’ high-priced tobacco and liquor inventory. Robberies of convenience stores soared 75% in Chicago last year compared to 2019, according to CPD records.