THPT! THPT! THPT! THPT! Chicago police helicopter tracks down armed robbery crew after Tuesday night hold-up spree

A Chicago Police Department helicopter takes off from Midway International Airport in March 2020. | Chicago Airport Spotter

Two men are facing charges after a Chicago police helicopter tracked their vehicle across the city on Tuesday evening following a series of armed robberies in Lincoln Park, West Town, and the West Loop.

Detectives are working to link the men to a 45-minute robbery spree that began around 9:23 p.m. in the first block of North Green.

There, two masked men armed with handguns confronted a 39-year-old woman and a 36-year-old man who were walking down the street, according to Chicago police. The offenders took the victims’ valuables and escaped in a gray or silver Chrysler 300. The car was reported stolen last month from Logan Square, Chicago police records show.

Two additional robberies were reported shortly after 10 o’clock:

  • In Lincoln Park, a 28-year-old man told police that he was walking in the 1900 block of North Kenmore when two men confronted him with two firearms and ordered him to lie on the ground, according to police. They took the man’s valuables and ran south on Kenmore. A witness saw them leave the area in a light-colored Chrysler.
  • A man and woman, both 37, were confronted by two masked men who displayed two handguns in the 600 block of North Ogden. The offenders went through the victims’ pockets and took their property. In a media statement, police said the offenders fled in a gray Dodge Charger, but a source said the vehicle may have been the stolen Chrysler 300.

A short time later, a Chicago police helicopter crew spotted the Chrysler and radioed its movements to ground units for about 30 minutes.

At around 11:40 p.m., three or four people bailed out of the Chrysler in the 100 block of North Hoyne, according to a Chicago police traffic crash report. The driver left the vehicle in gear, and it rolled into a parked car that was occupied by two people. Police said the parked car showed “very minor” damage, and the occupants were not injured.

Meanwhile, patrol officers chased the people who ran from the Chrysler and took two of them into custody.

According to CPD arrest records, one of the men is 26 and the other is 24. Both have been arrested several times by Chicago police in the past, including for gun charges.

CWBChicago will post an updated story if prosecutors approve charges.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2023 budget proposal includes funding for Chicago police to double the size of CPD’s helicopter force from two aging and frequently out-of-service units to four.

Proponents, including Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) argue that the police department needs better air support because vehicle pursuits by patrol cars are dangerous and largely prohibited by CPD policy.

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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