An armed robbery crew shot two people during separate hold-ups about 90 minutes apart in Boystown late Tuesday and early today, according to Chicago police.
Now, investigators are exploring the possibility that a violent cell that had pistol-whipped and fired shots during a streak of robberies over the past two months is now even more dangerous.
“This is what I was talking about,” said a source who expressed concern that the robbery wave might turn more violent in a CWBChicago report on December 17. “They mutated, become worse. It’s entertainment for them.”
Just two weeks ago, the same source told us, “It’s a pretty quick trip from firing into the air and beating someone with a pistol to shooting someone in the leg, or worse.”
The six-week robbery surge that claimed more than 60 victims across the North Side involved groups of offenders who traveled to the area in two or three cars to conduct waves of “flash mob robberies” in which they targeted up to eight victims at a time. But the hold-up activity stopped after one of those vehicles slammed head-on into a CPD unit on the West Side.
But none of the car’s occupants were charged with any of the robberies, and at least two carloads of accomplices remained at large.
The latest robberies in Boystown seemed to follow the same playbook: Cars rolled up on victims walking on the street, and offenders emerged with handguns.
Three people were robbed and one of them was shot during the first Boystown hold-up around 11:25 p.m. Tuesday. Police said two men and a woman were walking on the 600 block of West Buckingham when a group of men stepped out of a dark sedan that stopped in the street.
The robbers turned violent when the victims failed to comply with orders to turn over their phones and wallets, police said. They began beating the victims, and one offender fired a shot, striking a 28-year-old man in the buttocks, police said.
The other man and the woman, both 27, suffered facial swelling and bruising, police said. And the robbers got away with the victims’ valuables, including phones and the woman’s purse.
Police said the shooting victim is in fair condition at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. The other two victims declined medical attention.
Officers searched the area for suspects, described as Black men wearing dark clothing who may have traveled in a Kia sedan.
Then, at 1 a.m. Wednesday, a similar crime unfolded just a couple of blocks away on the 400 block of West Aldine.
A 30-year-old man was walking with his girlfriend when a gray sedan pulled up and two men got out with handguns, according to a CPD report reviewed by CWBChicago.
The woman ran from the scene and got help by ringing the buzzers on a multi-unit residential building on the 3200 block of North Broadway.
Meanwhile, her boyfriend gave the robbers his wallet, but they reportedly demanded more and shot him in the leg. The report said they took his phone from his pocket and escaped in the sedan.
EMS took the second victim to Masonic, where he is also listed in fair condition, according to police.
Investigators determined that the robbers used the same vehicle in both crimes.
Area Three detectives are investigating.