At least seven people, including three Loyola University students, were robbed at gunpoint during a series of hold-ups in Rogers Park and West Ridge overnight. The offenders fired a gun during one robbery, police said, but no one was struck by the bullet.
There are indications that the crimes may be related to a wave of armed robberies that swept across the North Side earlier this month. Those earlier crimes include the shooting of 24-year-old Dakotah Earley in Lincoln Park.
Sunday’s robberies began around 1:30 a.m. on the 1000 block of West Columbia in Rogers Park. A woman told police that a gunman took her purse, phone, and car keys and then fled south on Sheridan in a white SUV.
Then, at 1:47 a.m., three masked men stepped out of a white SUV and robbed three Loyola students who were walking on the 6500 block of North Glenwood, according to a CPD spokesperson and Loyola’s police department.
One offender displayed a handgun as the group took phones, backpacks, and wallets from the victims, who were men ages 20 and 21 and a 21-year-old woman, according to CPD.
After the robbery, the gunman fired a single shot toward one victim, a CPD spokesperson said. Loyola did not mention the gunfire in its community alert, but Chicago cops said they found a shell casing at the scene. Earlier this month, the robbery crew associated with Brownlee fired a shot at a man who ran away when they tried to rob him on the 2600 block of North Bosworth in Lincoln Park.
Around 2 a.m., two offenders emerged from a white SUV and robbed a man gunpoint on the 1400 block of West Birchwood.. One robber reportedly wore an orange ski mask, an unusual detail that some victims recalled earlier this month.
About 30 minutes later, three men stepped out of a white SUV and robbed a 26-year-old man and 28-year-old woman who were standing next to a car on the 5600 block of North Mozart in West Ridge, police said. One robber displayed a gun while the group took the victims’ property.
The couple later discovered that the crew also stole their car, which had been parked in the area. It’s notable that the robbers who committed the string of hold-ups earlier this month also used a victim’s keys to steal his car, which was parked a couple of blocks from the robbery scene. One of the robbers in that crime wore an orange ski mask.
Chicago police said the suspects are three Black males between 16- and 25-years-old. One is 5’9″ tall and wore an orange face mask, blue hoodie, and black sweats. Another is about 5-feet tall and wore a blue face mask, black hoodie, and black sweats. The third wore an orange hoodie. The group used a white Nissan Pathfinder on Sunday, according to CPD.
Loyola University police said gunmen robbed two more students near the school’s Rogers Park campus Wednesday morning. The male and female students were walking through an alley on the 1200 block of West Albion when a white sedan pulled up behind them and two robbers emerged with handguns around 1 a.m., according to information from the school and a CPD report.
Loyola police said the robbers took the victims’ phones, backpacks, and wallets, then drove away. According to a CPD report, the robbers were Black males wearing all black clothing and ski masks.
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.
The gunman who shot Earley, allegedly Brownlee, arrived and departed the crime scene in a BMW. That’s the car that robbers, including one wearing an orange ski mask, took from a parking space after robbing a man in Lakeview one night earlier.
Some police sources have expected the rest of the crew continue operations without Brownlee.
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.
A law enforcement source believes Sunday’s robberies were committed by the same group that pulled off dozens of hold-ups earlier this month. They pointed to parallels between the crimes, including the 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.
The string of robberies that unfolded this month bears 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.
A 17-year-old boy is charged with the Edgewater shooting and several of the robberies that occurred in the wintertime spree.