Police are investigating two violent robberies on downtown Red Line platforms since yesterday evening. Groups of male offenders attacked and robbed the victims as they were waiting for trains in the Loop, according to Chicago police.
The muggings are the latest in a string of robberies on Loop train lines since Friday. Efforts to apprehend suspects were hampered by a lack of police staffing in the area, according to information collected by CWBChicago.
In the group attacks, one victim, a 35-year-old man, was targeted as he stood on the Red Line platform at Jackson around 9:50 p.m. Sunday. A group of men approached the victim and began punching and kicking him until he fell to the ground, CPD spokesperson Kellie Bartoli said.
The offenders continued to kick him as he was lying on the platform. According to Bartoli, one attacker went into the victim’s pockets to take his cash and phone before they all escaped.
EMS took the victim to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in fair condition with bruising to his body. No arrests were made.
Bartoli said one of the robbers is a Black male who wore a white jacket, but no other descriptions were available.
A similar robbery unfolded around 12:50 a.m. Monday at the Monroe Red Line platform.
About five males approached a 44-year-old man who was waiting for a train and one of the offenders displayed a handgun, according to Bartoli. They demanded the victim’s phone and wallet.
But the victim refused to cooperate and the group began kicking and punching him, Bartoli said. They fled after getting the man’s property.
He was also taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Bartoli said he was in good condition with a laceration to his nose.
The group was described only as Black males between 15- and 23-years-old, according to Bartoli.
Police received reports of robberies throughout the downtown L system over the weekend. A juvenile arrested after a robbery at the Monroe Red Line station around 10:45 p.m. Friday. At the Red Line’s Jackson station, three offenders beat and robbed another man around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
More robberies were reported early Sunday: at the Jackson Blue Line and at the Van Buren Red Line around 4:45 a.m. and at the Clinton Blue Line about 30 minutes later. But all of the officers assigned to the Central (1st) Police District were tied up on other calls and no officers were dispatched for over an hour.
Around 5:30 a.m., an officer assigned to monitor the CTA’s surveillance cameras in real-time spotted a possible suspect in a weekend robbery that targeted a 71-year-old man downtown. But, once again, the Central District did not have any officers whatsoever available to go to the Van Buren station to make contact with the suspect, according to dispatch records.
A source told CWBChicago that the Central District had only one tactical car on duty during the overnight shift from Saturday night into Sunday morning. Among other things, tactical units quickly respond to violent crimes like robberies and initiate efforts to locate offenders.
The Central District patrols the area between 31st Street, Lake Michigan, and the Chicago River.