Moments after 2 more armed robberies in Wicker Park, CPD boss orders cops to stop following men wanted for over a dozen hold-ups

An armed robbery crew that has struck repeatedly in Wicker Park and Avondale returned to the area to commit two more daylight robberies on Friday morning. Chicago police spotted the offenders as they fled from the second robbery scene, but a CPD supervisor ordered units not to follow the car onto the expressway. So, the armed men, wanted for more than a dozen armed and sometimes violent robberies, remain at large to commit more crimes.

Chicago police say both robberies happened around 11 a.m. on Friday, about 10 minutes apart.

First, two men got out of a dark sedan and grabbed a 50-year-old woman’s purse as she walked in the 1800 block of North Winchester, a CPD spokesperson said. The purse strap broke, but the robbers couldn’t get it from her before they fled the scene, according to police.

One of the robbers was armed with a handgun.

The CPD spokesperson said that minutes later, two men stepped out of a dark-colored car and confronted a 30-year-old man walking in the 2300 block of West Wabansia. While one offender pointed a gun at the victim, the other went through the man’s pockets to take valuables, according to CPD.

In both cases, the offenders were described as Black males wearing hoodies and face masks who escaped in a four-door car with a passenger-side window taped up or covered with a garbage bag.

That’s the vehicle and suspect description given in a string of robberies reported in the area since August 22, including at least eight other robberies this month. The crew has pistol-whipped some victims and fired shots during at least one hold-up, according to CPD.

Detectives have publicly linked robberies on the following dates and times to the same group:

On Friday, cops spotted the car, a black Kia with a taped-up rear passenger window, at 11:09 a.m., moments after the second robbery, according to police radio transmissions. They followed the vehicle until it reached the Kennedy Expressway.

“After it gets on the expressway, let it go,” a supervisor radioed.

The officers followed those directions, as CPD’s auto pursuit policy requires.

Deciding whether or not to chase armed offenders has become a case of “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” some policing experts say.| Gary Larson, The Far Side

CPD’s pursuit rules, written in August 2020, provide officers with 11 pages of instructions to consider when deciding if a vehicle should be pursued. It says very clearly that the CPD won’t punish any officer for ending a car chase and that they must obey any order from a supervisor to stop following or chasing a suspect.

The order was meant to reduce the number of accidents and injuries to innocent bystanders during police chases. Chicago has paid out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits filed by crash victims and their families.

But one consequence of the city’s policy is that people who commit violent crimes remain on the loose to commit more violent crimes.

As CWBChicago reported just days ago, Chicago cops terminated pursuits and “follows” of another robbery crew’s vehicle at least five times in the six months between November 2021 and May 2022. That group of offenders is believed to have robbed well over 50 people, often pistol-whipping and sometimes firing shots. Their string of crimes culminated with the brutal shooting and robbery of Dakotah Earley in Lincoln Park on May 6.

In fact, CWB has reported, police terminated a “follow” of that group’s car about an hour before it rolled up Earley.

During a recent discussion about the growing police practice of not pursuing violent offenders, former New York City police sergeant Joseph Giacolone tweeted, “You’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t, however, dammed if you don’t is what the politicians want.”

Our original reporting is 100% reader-funded. Please contribute to our operating fund or purchase a subscription today.