Two 15-year-boys among group that robbed Boystown smoke shop at gunpoint, police say

Halsted Smoke Shop at 3448 North Halsted. | Google

CHICAGO — Two 15-year-old boys were among eight people who robbed a Boystown smoke shop at gunpoint on Sunday afternoon, Chicago police said. The robbery is the latest in a string of similar robberies and thefts at businesses, mostly smoke shops, since Friday in Lakeview East and nearby Uptown.

A little after 2 p.m. Sunday, about eight young males entered Halsted Smoke Shop, 3448 North Halsted, and one of them punched the store’s 24-year-old employee in the face multiple times, a CPD spokesperson said.

After that, some members of the group displayed firearms as they all loaded merchandise into bags and backpacks.

Chicago police officers located the two 15-year-olds in the 3700 block of North Fremont, along with some of the store’s products. Both boys are charged with felony robbery, and one is also charged with misdemeanor battery, according to the CPD spokesperson.

The rest of the group escaped, including some who jumped on the Red Line.

Police are also investigating at least four similar crimes at other stores over the weekend, beginning around 7:45 p.m. Friday at 7 Heaven Smoke Shop, 4077 North Broadway. About five young males entered the store, loaded merchandise into bags, and battered the cashier when they confronted them.

The two primary offenders were Black and 14 to 15 years old, with one wearing a red hoodie and the other a white hoodie, an officer at the scene said. The group fled south on Broadway.

Three cases were reported on Saturday evening.

At around 6:30 p.m., a group of young males jumped the counter at Wrigley Smoke N Style, 3934 North Sheridan. They began stealing merchandise and threw a bottle at the store’s 38-year-old employee, who confronted them, police said.

The bottle cut the man’s face, and he was taken to Thorek Hospital for treatment, according to a CPD spokesperson.

An officer said the group consisted of Black males in their teens, with two wearing red hoodies and another in a tan long-sleeved shirt. They all carried backpacks, which they used to haul stolen merchandise.

The same group raided a convenience store next to the smoke shop and then continued north to the 4000 block of North Sheridan. There, they stole products and tried to steal the register at Roots Smoke & Vapor Shop, according to a CPD report.

Other than the two boys charged with Sunday’s robbery in Boystown, no charges have been filed in any of the incidents.

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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