Update 8:13 p.m. — Chicago police have announced the following charges. None of the individuals is accused of participating in any robberies that have been linked to the stolen car.
- A 17-year-old boy is charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle
- A 16-year-old girl is charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to a motor vehicle
- Asantewaa Smith, 34, is charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to a motor vehicle
Our original story continues below.
A stolen Honda Civic that has been used in several recent armed robbery sprees on the North Side crashed into a Chicago police tactical unit in the Austin neighborhood yesterday evening, according to a law enforcement source.
Cops took two juveniles and a 34-year-old woman into custody, according to a CPD report. A police spokesperson on Friday evening said charges are pending, but they did not say who the charges might be filed against or what the charges might be.
About 90 minutes after the Civic’s occupants were detained, another armed robbery unfolded in Lakeview. A male victim was beaten with a handgun by three offenders who also robbed him and a woman on the 1000 block of West Oakdale.
But no other robberies were reported after that incident, which is unusual because the pattern has been for several hold-ups to be committed within a short amount of time by offenders traveling in separate cars.
CWBChicago reported earlier today that investigators believe multi-vehicle “flash mob robbery crews” are responsible for a months-long spike in street robberies that started in West Town during the autumn and inched into Lakeview and Lincoln Park last month.
Crash and arrests
Just before 9:30 p.m. Thursday, a CPD license plate reader detected the stolen Honda Civic traveling through the Austin neighborhood. Cook County Sheriff’s Police units intercepted the car, which crashed head-on into the Chicago police SUV, which was parked on the 5000 block of West Thomas, according to a CPD report.
The driver of the Civic, a 17-year-old boy, ran from the vehicle but was arrested moments later. Two passengers in the Civic, a 16-year-old girl and a 34-year-old woman who list the same home address, were taken to West Suburban Hospital for evaluation, the report said.
The blue Honda Civic itself was stolen on December 8 after its owner left it running on the 1900 block of North Mendell, a small side street that’s just west of the Lincoln Yards development in Lincoln Park, a separate CPD report said.
Since then, several victims who’ve been targeted in the near-nightly robbery sprees have told police that the offenders used a small blue car — and some provided police with the vehicle’s license plate number.
Among the many robberies that are believed to be linked to the Civic this week are:
- Around 12:10 a.m. on Saturday, December 11, two armed men exited a blue sedan to rob a 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman who were walking on the 1700 block of West Wrightwood in Lincoln Park. The robbers demanded the victims’ phones and wallets, then fled in the car with at least one accomplice.
- A robbery near the intersection of Ashland and Blackhawk in Wicker Park around 3 a.m. on Sunday, December 12. No further information was immediately available about this crime.
- A 50-year-old man was robbed in Uptown by two men who displayed handguns on the 1400 block of West Leland at 11:35 p.m. Wednesday, a CPD spokesperson said. The robbery was one of at least nine hold-ups involving 14 victims across the Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Uptown neighborhoods that evening.
It remains to be seen if the people who were in the Civic when it crashed have been involved in the robberies. There are still plenty of reasons that suggest the “flash mob” robbers who remain at large will continue to work.
For one thing, the crews are known to use at least two other vehicles to carry out their crime sprees, including a stolen Mazda SUV with Indiana plates and a Jeep.
Additionally, the more violent members of the robbery mobs — those that pistol-whip victims and fire gunshots during hold-ups — were responsible for last night’s mugging in Lakeview, which took place after the Civic’s occupants were arrested. That means the more dangerous offenders apparently remain on the loose.
And, when police caught a juvenile and charged him in connection similar mob-style crimes in West Town a couple of months ago, the robbery teams continued to ply their trade.
CWBChicago will post an update if charges are announced against any of the individuals who were in the Civic when it crashed last night.