Daytime robbery spree ends with arrest after Chicago police supervisor authorizes vehicle pursuit

CHICAGO — In a move rarely seen in the modern Chicago Police Department, a CPD supervisor gave patrol officers permission to engage a carload of suspected robbers in a vehicle pursuit on Tuesday afternoon. And the cops caught them.

The chase came after a rash of midday robberies that claimed at least nine victims in West Town, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square.

Minutes before the pursuit, a 28-year-old woman was robbed as she walked down the 1300 block of West Ohio. A Chicago police spokesperson said a silver car pulled up, and a robber jumped out of the vehicle and tried to take her property.

The woman fell, and the robber returned to the car without getting anything, police said.

Patrol officers spotted a stolen silver Hyundai sedan with temporary plates. It matched the description of the getaway car, so they tried to pull it over. But the driver sped away.

After a few moments, a tactical sergeant told the officers to terminate the chase if the car didn’t pull over. But a lieutenant hopped on the radio with another idea: “You can continue to pursue.” Listen:

Audio source: Broadcastify

It wasn’t long before everyone bailed out of the car near Damen and the Eisenhower Expressway. Chicago cops ran after them and made five arrests, according to police.

Four were released without being charged. The fifth, a 15-year-old boy, is charged with attempted robbery of the woman on Ohio Street, a CPD spokesperson said.

A similar vehicle was used in some other robberies before she was targeted.

Around 11:15 a.m., two construction workers were robbed at gunpoint near Campbell and Walton in Humboldt Park. Masked robbers displayed a rifle and a handgun while an accomplice waited in a gray SUV. The car’s rear passenger window was broken, a common feature of stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

Also in Humboldt Park, three men, including two plumbers, were robbed at gunpoint in the 2600 block of West Thomas at about 1:15 p.m. They told police the robbers escaped in a silver Kia with a broken rear passenger window.

Another man was targeted as he left a bank ATM in the 2300 block of North Western Avenue in Logan Square around 1:45 p.m. He told police that two masked men drove up to him, and the passenger pulled out a gun. He managed to run into the bank without losing anything to them.

Around 3:10 p.m., three men in a silver Hyundai sedan robbed two people at an ice cream truck near Superior and Wolcott in West Town. That’s the robbery the lieutenant referred to in the audio clip above.

Witnesses said the getaway car’s rear passenger window was broken and had temporary plates.

In addition to all those cases, a U.S. Postal Inspection Service representative confirmed that two postal workers were also robbed in the area on Tuesday afternoon.

The approximate locations of midday robberies reported in the area on Tuesday. Not shown are two armed robberies of mail carriers. | Multiplottr

The Near West (12th) Police District, where many of yesterday’s robberies occurred, logged 78 robberies in the four weeks ending Sunday, according to CPD records. That’s 90% more than during the same timeframe last year.

Most of the robberies have been committed by roving bands of masked gunmen who pull off several holdups in quick succession. Wearing masks and hoodies, they frequently travel in easy-to-steal Hyundai and Kia models, jumping out to target people on the street.

Early Sunday morning, a 32-year-old man was shot and killed as he left a bar in the 1000 block of North California, police said. Witnesses told police that at least two men jumped out of a car and tried to rob the victim. They killed him in the process.

At least nine robberies were reported in Humboldt Park and Logan Square during an hour-long spree on July 7. One day earlier, six holdups were reported. And more occurred on Sunday afternoon.

Chase avoidance

The Chicago Police Department introduced a new vehicle pursuit policy in August 2020. That order gives officers 11 pages of instructions to consider when deciding if a vehicle should be pursued.

It specifically prohibits Chicago officers from pursuing anyone for a traffic offense other than DUI. And it states explicitly that CPD will not discipline any member for ending a motor vehicle pursuit. If they continue a pursuit, though, they’ll be held responsible for anything that goes wrong.

The city has paid out tens of millions of dollars for lives lost and injuries caused by pursuits that ended with crashes. CPD supervisors have become so skittish about the possibility of something going wrong they’ve ordered cops to stop pursuing a car suspected of carrying wanted murderers.

In observance of the policy, cops downtown decided not to pursue a stolen BMW wanted for a series of armed robberies last year. Within an hour of that decision, men who emerged from the BMW shot and robbed Dakotah Earley in Lincoln Park.

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