As armed robberies continue, an alderman promises police have a ‘concrete and collaborative plan’

CHICAGO — At least five people were robbed during a midday robbery spree yesterday, with victims reporting holdups from Bucktown and Humboldt Park to Ravenswood. And three people were robbed at gunpoint during a single incident in Lakeview early Saturday.

But one alderman is assuring his constituents that Chicago police have a “concrete and collaborative plan” to address the city’s ongoing robbery problem, as police say just one roving band of criminals may be responsible for more than 60 holdups.

Friday’s robberies began around noon in the 1700 block of West Armitage in Bucktown. Two masked men stepped out of a silver SUV and took a man’s wallet and phone. An accomplice, armed with a rifle, robbed another man who was nearby.

Officers said the robbers traveled in a silver SUV with a broken rear side window covered with a t-shirt. As CWBChicago readers know, many of the dozens of robberies we’ve reported involve groups traveling in vehicles with broken rear side windows. That’s because the cars, usually Kias or Hyundais, are stolen. The thieves enter the vehicles by breaking a back window and sliding inside.

The robbers in Bucktown were Black males between 16 and 20 years old wearing black ski masks and dark pants. The one armed with a rifle stood about 6’2″ tall.

A little before 1 p.m., three men robbed a man at gunpoint as he stood in his yard in the 1500 block of North Fairfield. He said the robbers were Hispanic, one wearing a black hoodie and another wearing a blue hoodie. They fled in a gray SUV.

Then, a 39-year-old man was robbed in the 1600 block of West Leland in Ravenswood around 1:20 p.m. He told police that three robbers exited a gray SUV and demanded his property while a fourth person stayed in the vehicle. Described as four Black males between 16 and 20 years old, armed with three guns, they fled east on Wilson Avenue after getting his valuables.

The afternoon spree ended around 1:50 p.m. near Thomas and Wolcott in West Town. Three men in a silver car put a gun to a construction worker’s head and took his wallet and phone.

In Lakeview, three people were robbed at gunpoint in the 3300 block of North Clifton around 4:12 a.m. Saturday. A Chicago police spokesperson said two 34-year-old women and a 37-year-old man were outside when a black pickup truck stopped nearby.

The approximate locations of the robberies mentioned in this story. | Multiplottr

Four robbers got out of the truck and displayed guns while demanding the victims’ property. The crew was last seen heading north on Clifton in the truck. An officer who responded to the call said the robbers were four Black males wearing hoodies and masks.

Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st), whose ward includes some of the areas hardest hit by robberies in recent months, addressed the crime pattern in an emailed newsletter on Friday evening.

“It has been a challenging week in the 1st Ward and surrounding communities as a series of robberies has rocked the peace of our neighborhoods and left many feeling scared, angry, and anxious,” wrote La Spata, who represents parts of Logan Square, Wicker Park, and West Town.

“I spoke with the 14th district commander yesterday around this issue to amplify our concerns. While I cannot share their specific strategies publicly – and consequently jeopardize their chance of success – please know that the 12th, 14th, and 25th districts have a concrete and collaborative plan for addressing this issue,” the alderman continued.

In fact, the robbery problem has been ongoing for much longer than a week.

The Shakespeare (14th) District has had 212 robberies this year through July 16, according to CPD’s latest statistics report. That’s 23% higher than last year and 58% higher than 2019.

In the Near West (12th) District, robberies are up 44% from last year and 48% from 2019. The district had 78 robberies in the four weeks ending Monday, a 90% increase from last year.

But of the districts La Spata mentioned, the Grand Central (25th) District takes the cake, with robberies up 76% from last year and 40% compared to 2019.

Ravenswood and Lakeview, where the other two robberies mentioned in this story occurred, are in the Town Hall (19th) District. There, robberies are down 10% from last year, although they are still 45% higher than in 2019.

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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