Police are investigating a series of armed robberies and carjackings that unfolded in about two hours early today in Lincoln Park, Bucktown, West Town, and the Lower West Side. No arrests have been made in the robberies, which appear to be the work of a hold-up crew that uses at least two cars. A similar crime spree occurred in the same areas one week earlier.
Wednesday’s crimes began with an armed carjacking in the 1700 block of West 21st Street around 1 a.m. Four men took a driver’s silver Kia Forte at gunpoint and fled the scene. The stolen car would later be used in other robberies.
At 1:30 a.m., a man reported that three offenders tried to rob him at gunpoint as he stepped from his car at a gas station on the corner of Armitage and Wood in Bucktown. He got away.
About 20 minutes later, in the West Loop, four men in surgical masks dragged a 67-year-old Uber driver from his white Nissan Altima in the 1100 block of West Adams, according to police. The hijacked vehicle, which has Texas license plates, was also used in later crimes.
Around 2:14 a.m., the silver Kia that was carjacked on 21st Street rolled onto the 2000 block of North Orleans in Lincoln Park. Two men, both 25-years-old, were sitting on the curb in front of their home when the Kia pulled to a stop and four men stepped out.
The victims tried to run away, but the robbers caught them and put guns to both of their heads while demanding their property, a police spokesperson said.
Then, at 2:38 p.m., a 54-year-old man was carjacked as he sat in his gray Volkswagen Tiguan in the 400 block of West Fullerton. He told police that a white sedan pulled up next to him and a group of hijackers got out to demand his vehicle at gunpoint.
Less than 20 minutes later, a masked robber displayed a handgun and confronted a 41-year-old man at a gas station in the 2300 block of West Belmont in Roscoe Village, said the CPD spokesperson. The robber demanded his keys and took valuables from the victim’s pockets. He tried to use the keys to steal the man’s car, but he was unsuccessful, and he fled in a silver car that was waiting for him.
Surveillance video showed the carjacked Volkswagen was in the gas station parking lot along with the robber’s getaway car.
All of the hold-ups reportedly involved three or four Black males dressed in ski or surgical masks as the robbers.
A similar group of robbers committed a string of armed robberies and hijackings early on Wednesday, June 22.
Those robberies began at 12:05 a.m. on the 300 block of North Green in the West Loop. A 42-year-old man was walking when a white SUV with Florida plates pulled up, and three men stepped out of it with handguns, a CPD spokesperson said.
They took the victim’s belongings and one of the robbers punched the man in his face. The three then returned to the SUV and headed north on Green. Two people who were leaving work at a nearby restaurant said the men pointed guns at them, but did not take anything.
Minutes later, four men who traveled in a white SUV robbed a victim of their phone, backpack, and wallet on Grand Avenue, just west of Milwaukee.
Then, three people were reported in about 10 minutes downtown.
At 12:25 a.m., a white SUV pulled up next to a bike taxi on the 300 block of East Wacker Drive. Three masked men in the SUV took the victims’ property at gunpoint, then drove away. The victims, a 31-year-old woman and a 61-year-old man, were not injured, the CPD spokesperson said.
Ten minutes later, a 33-year-old tourist was robbed as she walked on Grand Avenue just east of State Street. She told police that a robber jumped out of a dark SUV and pointed a black handgun at her head around 12:35 a.m., the spokesperson continued. After giving the man her valuables, the victim went to her nearby hotel to get help.
Then, a 27-year-old man told police that a white SUV pulled up next to him on the 3200 block of North Broadway in Boystown around 2:50 a.m. Two robbers stepped out of the vehicle and pointed guns at the man’s head while demanding his property, the police spokesperson said.
Another string of robberies was reported between about 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.
Three masked robbers targeted a man and his friend near Milwaukee and Armitage in Logan Square. The robbers escaped in a dark SUV that may have been taken in a carjacking on the 2100 block of West Dickens in Bucktown the previous weekend, according to a report.
Around the same time, two people were robbed as they sat in a car on the 1100 block of North Western Avenue. A dark SUV pulled up and three men opened the victim’s car door. They took the victims’ backpacks, which contained a laptop, wallet, money, and keys to a nearby bar.
A short time later, a man told police he was carjacked at gunpoint and physically attacked as he headed to work on the 1600 block of West 21st Street by four men who arrived in a dark SUV. They took his 2006 Lexus sedan. That hijacking occurred about a block from where the first hijacking occurred today.
Another man, age 35, was pistol-whipped and robbed last Wednesday by at least five men who arrived in two vehicles on the 2300 block of South Halsted, a CPD report said. The offenders took his phone and other property, then fled the area.