CHICAGO — A group of men on bicycles robbed at least one person and probably two in downtown Chicago overnight.
In a confirmed holdup, a 34-year-old man was walking near Daley Plaza when three men on bikes pedaled up to him on the first block of West Washington around 1:45 a.m., police said.
One of the robbers displayed a gun and ordered the victim to hand over his valuables. He complied and was not injured. Police did not release a description of the robbers.
About a half-hour before that robbery, another man called 911 to report that he had been similarly robbed near State and Randolph.
Dispatchers announced the call on the local police radio channel at 1:13 a.m., saying that six of seven men on bikes robbed the man of his wallet at gunpoint.
But the district had no cops available to respond to the man’s call for help. It was not assigned to a unit until 2 a.m., more than 45 minutes after the 911 call came in.
Officers said they did not find a victim when they rolled up to the scene at 2:09 a.m.
Late last month, several people were robbed by two men who bicycled around the Loop early on a Monday morning. Charges were filed against one man in connection with those crimes: Jorge Gonzales, a Chicago resident of just five months.
Gonzales, 23, and a man who remains at large rode bikes from one robbery to another in the Loop, with the accomplice displaying a silver revolver each time, Assistant State’s Attorney Victor Aberdeen said during Gonzales’ bail hearing on June 27.
They allegedly started by taking about $60 from a 27-year-old man in the 600 block of South State Street around 5:17 a.m.
Just a couple of minutes later, the accomplice fell off his bike in the 600 block of South Plymouth Court, and a 52-year-old woman came over to ask if he was OK. They robbed her, Aberdeen said. With the accomplice aiming his revolver at her, the woman replied that she didn’t have anything and then ran away.
The third robbery fizzled, too. Aberdeen said Gonzales and the accomplice pedaled up to a 36-year-old man near Madison and Michigan around 5:35 a.m. Once again, the accomplice pointed a gun at the victim and demanded his money. But the victim didn’t have anything, and he turned his pockets inside out to prove it, Aberdeen said.
A little before 6 a.m., the duo saw a 31-year-old man walking his dog in the 1100 block of South Michigan. They stopped, and the accomplice pulled out his revolver, demanding the man’s property and threatening to kill him and his dog, Aberdeen alleged.
Gonzales and his partner ordered the man to take them to his car, but he told them it was locked behind a gate in the garage. So Gonzales took the victim’s gold chain and biked away with the gunman, Aberdeen said.
Possibly sick of bicycling, the pair rolled up on a 22-year-old man sitting in a car in an alley behind the 1100 block of South Wabash. They knocked on the man’s window, and the accomplice ordered him out of the vehicle at gunpoint, said Aberdeen. With Gonzales allegedly behind the wheel, they drove off with the man’s gray Honda.
Chicago police officers spotted the car around 11:30 a.m. near Chicago Avenue and the Kennedy Expressway. Gonzales was behind the wheel when they pulled it over, Aberdeen alleged. No one else was in the car, but Gonzales had the fourth victim’s gold chain, and he was wearing the same clothes that one of the robbers was seen wearing on surveillance videos, according to Aberdeen.
Gonzales’ defense attorney said he is a native of Colombia who has lived here with his family for about five months.
Judge William Fahy set bail at $250,000. Gonzales can go home on electronic monitoring by posting 10% of the bail amount. As of this morning, July 7, he has not been released.
He is charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, two counts of armed robbery with a firearm, and two counts of attempted armed robbery with a firearm.