Cops are questioning 2 men in connection with weekend robbery sprees on North Side; links to Dakotah Early hold-up crew eyed

Chicago police are questioning two men in connection with a series of armed robberies that unfolded over the weekend on the North Side, according to a source. And, we have learned, evidence is growing that the crew responsible for this weekend’s wave of hold-ups is part of the group that committed dozens of robberies earlier in the month, including the shooting of Dakotah Earley in Lincoln Park.

Early Sunday, three Loyola University students were among at least seven people robbed at gunpoint during a series of crimes in Rogers Park and West Ridge. The offenders fired a gun during one robbery, police said, but no one was shot.

In one of crimes, three offenders robbed a man and woman on the 5600 block of North Mozart. The couple later discovered that the crew also stole their car, a gray Honda Civic, which had been parked in the area.

A robbery crew then used the stolen Civic in another wave of robberies across Lakeview and Rogers Park on Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Police located the Civic on the West Side around 2 p.m. Monday and began following it with a helicopter and ground units. Apparently aware that they were being tracked, the Civic’s driver bailed out of the car and ran into a house on the 1500 block of South Drake.

That home is about 50 feet from where cops located the stolen BMW used by the robbery crew that shot Dakotah Earley, according to CPD records. Like the Civic, the BMW’s owner was robbed at gunpoint and later discovered that his car had also been taken from a nearby street. One man who robbed the BWM’s owner wore a distinctive orange ski mask, as did a robber who worked the North Side this weekend.

After the Civic’s driver bailed out, two other men in the car drove away and police continued to follow the vehicle until they ditched it in a vacant lot behind CPD’s Harrison (11th) District station. Police arrested both men and recovered a handgun.

A Chicago police sergeant stands near the Honda Civic. Inset is a photo of the gun police said they recovered at the scene. | CPD

They were taken in for questioning by Area Three detectives. No charges have been announced and cops were working to find connections between the men and the robberies.

A wave of nearly nightly robbery sprees that swept across the North Side earlier this month ended after prosecutors charged 19-year-old Tyshon Brownlee with shooting Dakotah Earley and taking part in several armed robberies in Lakeview and Lincoln Park.

Just days after Earley was shot, Brownlee was himself shot while riding in a car near Millennium Park. After dropping Brownlee off at a hospital, the other people in the car headed to the North Side and committed more robberies without him, a police source said.

In a story posted this weekend, a law enforcement source pointed to parallels between the latest robberies and the earlier crime wave, including the robbers’ willingness to fire a handgun at victims, commission of several crimes in one night, the orange face mask, theft of a parked cars, and the general tactic of confronting individuals and small groups of people who are walking during the late night and early evening hours. Now, the 1500 block of South Drake seems to be another parallel.

In another notable case, Chicago police arrested a 17-year-old boy on the 1500 block of South Drake in February after linking him to the carjacking of a 77-year-old woman near Wrigleyville last year.

This month’s robberies bear many similarities to another violent robbery surge that hit the North Side late last year. After two people were shot in separate armed robberies two hours apart in Boystown on December 28 and 29, the hold-up crew moved its activities north to Edgewater, where armed robbers shot a witness during a hold-up on January 13.

17-year-old boy is charged with the Edgewater shooting and several of the robberies that occurred in the wintertime spree.

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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 news@cwbchicago.com