Source: Car linked to citywide robbery spree crashed, burned minutes after final heist, leaving passenger dead

A car that police linked to a sweeping armed robbery spree that hit the city early Friday crashed and burst into flames moments after the last hold-up was reported, leaving one of its passengers dead at the scene, according to a source.

Investigators found a handgun and robbery proceeds inside the Volkswagen Tiguan, which slammed into a light pole while its driver apparently raced another car on the 7800 block of South Racine in Auburn Gresham around 6:29 a.m. Friday.

Journalists at Captured News took photos of the scene:

A 20-year-old male passenger was found dead inside the charred Tiguan with extensive burns. The Cook County medical examiner said he died from multiple injuries caused by a motor vehicle striking a fixed object. His name has not been released.

No other occupants were at the scene when police arrived. Investigators are trying to locate the car’s driver, who may have suffered significant injuries during the crash, a source said.

A man who was robbed by the crew on the 1100 block of West Van Buren shortly after 6 a.m. Friday told police the offenders fled in a black Volkswagen and provided a license plate number that closely matched the plate on the crashed vehicle, according to the source.

The robbery on Van Buren capped off a four-hour spree in which armed men pulled off at least 13 robberies starting in Hyde Park and then winding through River North, Old Town, West Town, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, and Streeterville, according to a community alert that police released Friday evening.

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. The crew used at least two vehicles in addition to the Volkswagen, including a blue Toyota that bears a license plate beginning with CF164 and a carjacked Ford Fusion that bears an Indiana plate that begins with 233.

Area Three detectives are handling the investigations. Anyone with information about the crimes can contact them at 312-744-8263 regarding pattern #21-CWP-018.

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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