2 arrests overnight have cops hopeful of “big break” in weeks-long violent crime spree

Chicago police are hopeful that they made a major step toward neutralizing a violent armed robbery and carjacking team suspected of committing crimes across the city and suburbs this winter.

Cops have connected the crew to the carjacking of Lyft driver outside Willis Tower, street robberies, hijackings, and a string of restaurant hold-ups in which gunmen crawled through the businesses’ drive-thru windows.

Police on the West Side arrested two men just after midnight Wednesday following a three-hour string of fast food restaurant robberies, including a Northwest Side Dunkin’ where the offenders crawled through the drive-thru window with guns. When the men were arrested, they were driving an SUV that was carjacked this week in West Town.

“The [detectives] have a lot to do,” a source said, saying the arrests “look promising.”

After the Willis Tower carjacking on January 20, Chicago police detectives released two separate community alerts that linked the hijacking to a violent group of criminals that investigators said was responsible for shootings and other violent crimes across the city and west suburbs.

CPD also said the men robbed fast-food restaurants during late evening and early morning hours by crawling through the businesses’ drive-thru windows — and cops released video of the crew slithering through the drive-thrus of Dunkin’ and McDonald’s restaurants with handguns.

Last night, two men crawled through the drive-thru window of a Dunkin’ at 5000 West Irving Park Road and robbed the store while displaying a handgun that had a light or laser attached to its barrel, according to a CPD report.

A Subway restaurant and at least two other Dunkin’ locations were also robbed late last night. And they’re suspected of robbing a Dunkin’ on the 3300 block of West Addison earlier in the day. Cops in Elmwood Park think they held up one of their town’s Dunkin’ locations this week, too.

Shortly after midnight, cops who were monitoring a CPD “blue light” camera saw two men get out of a recently-hijacked SUV in the Austin neighborhood. Tactical officers moved in and detained the duo. Police say they found a handgun with a light attached to its barrel inside the car.

According to CPD records, the Toyota RAV-4 the men were driving was taken at gunpoint in West Town earlier this week.

Now, the two men are at the center of a “significant” investigation into dozens of violent crimes over the past few weeks. CWBChicago will post updates as this story develops.

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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