An armed carjacking and ATM theft crew that has been running wild across the city for weeks went on another crime spree overnight, according to multiple law enforcement sources. Police crossed paths with them at the scenes of at least two incidents, but the offenders managed to speed away both times.
This morning’s crimes stretched from O’Hare to Bucktown to the Near South Side.
You may remember the FBI joined the hunt for the crew after they burglarized at least 12 businesses in a carjacked Dodge Durango on February 28.
On Friday, the federal agency announced that the Durango had been located, but the men remained at large.
So, of course, the criminals started their Wednesday morning crime spree by getting a new set of wheels.
Police said two white Infiniti SUVs and a black Range Rover were taken from a car rental agency parking lot near O’Hare around 1 a.m. Cops and witnesses would later report seeing white Infiniti SUVs bearing “fleet” license plates at the burglary scenes.
After getting the SUVs, the crew got to work doing what they’ve done dozens of times: burglarizing businesses for ATMs and cash registers.
They broke into Christina’s Place, a bar at 3759 North Kedzie, around 2:50 a.m. and took the ATM. A white SUV was seen leaving the area.
About 20 minutes later, cops turned a corner and apparently saw the crew sitting outside their next target, a Mexican restaurant on the 3500 block of West Montrose. But the crew sped away in their white SUV when they saw police rolling up, officers said.
Next stop? Bucktown. Once again, the crew had a close call as a patrol officer came upon them as they burglarized Bucktown Pub, 1658 West Cortland. The officer briefly pursued their white SUV westbound on North Avenue, but they got away.
Officers found the beer flowing from the bar’s taps, but the ATM was still intact.
The men then tried to take the ATM from Village Wash, 1725 South Halsted, on the Lower West Side, but they failed. Once again, five men fled the scene in a white Infinity with fleet plates.
They popped up on the Near South Side minutes later, taking the ATM from OMG Spa, 1620 South Michigan and four cash registers from CD One Price Cleaners, 2200 South Michigan, according to CPD reports.
The burglary team has been taking ATMs, liquor, cigarettes, and other valuables during early morning raids for weeks. They struck multiple locations on February 28, February 26, February 23, February 24, February 4, February 3, January 26, January 20, January 1, and December 26.
Investigators have linked them to armed carjackings, including one in which a man was shot at a Northwest Side gas station.
Records show they have generally targeted mom & pop convenience stores, Mexican restaurants, and liquor stores where free-standing ATMs are usually permanently installed. They also spent one night breaking into Walgreens and CVS locations.