Armed men committed at least 15 armed robberies and a carjacking between Thursday evening and sunrise Friday in a crime wave that stretched from the South Loop to Streeterville to Lincoln Square and Rogers Park. No arrests have been made.
The incredible spree unfolded hours before every Chicago Police Department detective assigned to handle robbery cases will again be ordered to spend the weekend sitting on street corners to maintain “visibility” rather than investigating crimes.
According to police records, the robbery streak began around 9:10 p.m. yesterday when a man got out of a dark blue Ford Fusion and robbed a woman at gunpoint as she walked her dog in the 1900 block of North Hudson in Lincoln Park. Minutes later, the same offenders robbed a man at gunpoint near Seminary and George in Lakeview. Investigators have determined that the Ford Fusion was recently carjacked in southwest suburban Blue Island.
But those were just the beginning. Between 2:45 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., police responded to at least 13 calls of armed robberies involving men who jumped out of vehicles with handguns. According to CPD reports:
- At 2:45 a.m., four men robbed a woman at gunpoint outside a hotel on the first block of East Grand. The crew then fled in a blue car.
- The same car was used by four men who robbed two people at gunpoint outside Walgreens, 1601 North Wells, in Old Town around 3 a.m.
- Around 3:12 a.m., two construction workers were robbed at gunpoint by four men who got out of a Ford Fusion with handguns on the corner of North Avenue and Throop, which is northwest of Goose Island.
- About 10 minutes later, four men got out of a car and robbed a man at gunpoint as he sat in a car on the 1600 block of West Belmont in Roscoe Village.
- Minutes after that, four men jumped and robbed a victim on Irving Park Road near Ashland Avenue in Lakeview.
- Then, two men got out of a blue sedan and robbed a man at gunpoint on the 4800 block of North Western in Lincoln Square at 3:44 a.m.
- Shortly before 4 a.m., four men got out of a blue vehicle and robbed a victim in the 1800 block of West Peterson.
Then, the robberies moved downtown, according to police reports:
- Around 4:25 a.m., a group of men got out of a black Jeep Cherokee and robbed a victim who was walking in the 500 block of West Roosevelt in the South Loop.
- At 5:35 a.m., four men got out of a black SUV with guns and robbed a woman of her backpack on the 1400 block of South State Street.
- Shortly before 6 a.m., a group of men displayed handguns and robbed a man outside the UIC Pavilion, 525 South Racine.
- At 6:15 a.m., a man was carjacked at gunpoint on a parking lot at the corner of Columbus and Illinois in Streeterville. The victim told police a group of men took his phone and wallet, then drove away with his 2021 Mazda CX-30 rental car, which has Michigan plates.
- Around 6:20 a.m., two men walked up behind a woman and took her purse at gunpoint on the 300 block of East Ohio in Streeterville. They fled in an SUV that was waiting for them inside a nearby parking garage.
- Four men robbed a victim in the 1100 block of West Van Buren at 6:30 a.m. Police found a wallet belonging to one of the earlier robbery victims at the scene.
All of the robberies involved Black males between 17- and 23-years-old who wore bandanas, ski masks, and other face coverings, according to CPD reports. One of the vehicles they used is a blue Toyota that bears a license plate beginning with CF164. Another is the carjacked Ford Fusion, which bears an Indiana plate that begins with 233.
Less than two hours before the robberies began on Thursday evening, CPD’s five detective division commanders were informed that all investigators who handle robbery, burglary, and theft cases will be required to work in uniform beginning with Friday’s evening shift and extending through Sunday night, according to emails provided to CWBChicago.
Rather than investigating crimes, the detectives will be assigned to sit in squad cars on corners in areas of the city that have high shooting and homicide rates. CPD has been pulling detectives from their cases to carry out similar missions since May 7, CWBChicago reported. Detectives assigned to homicide units and gang investigations won’t be used for corner-sitting, according to the plan.
“They’re higher salary and should be investigating crimes,” a CPD source said when the program was announced last month.
The union representing Chicago’s rank-and-file police officers is urging detectives to protect themselves from accusations of non-productivity by filing memos every time they are taken away from investigations to camp out in a car under the new tactic.
“Aspects of this investigation have been delayed due to the involuntary assignment,” a sample memo from the union reads. Among the duties the draft document says will be affected by reassignment are “residential canvasses, video canvasses, interviews, follow-up calls, evidence identification, evidence preservation, evidence submissions, policy review, report writing, [and] warrant writing.”