CHICAGO — Four robbery suspects are in custody after crashing on the Eisenhower Expressway just west of downtown Chicago this morning. At least four robberies were reported in less than an hour before the car crashed as an Illinois State Police unit followed them around 2:49 a.m.
All four suspects ran from the wrecked car, including at least two who jumped onto the CTA tracks, but Chicago police and troopers scooped them up quickly.
A trooper said officers saw a loaded handgun with an extended magazine and an automatic fire switch inside the group’s vehicle.
Several armed robberies were reported shortly before the arrests.
A woman told police four men robbed her at gunpoint just off the Dan Ryan Expressway at Taylor Street around 2 a.m. Minutes later, a man was robbed while sleeping in his car near a convenience store in the 500 block of West Grenshaw. Gray vehicles were seen fleeing both robberies.
At about 2:30 a.m., a couple of tourists were robbed as they stood near the intersection of Chicago and Milwaukee avenues. A Chicago police spokesperson said a 39-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman were outside when four people pulled up in a gray or tan sedan. Three men wearing ski masks got out of the car with guns.
One of the robbers hit the woman in the head and took her property, police said. The group returned to the car and sped away.
About five minutes later, two more people were robbed at gunpoint near Milwaukee Avenue and Division Street.
But a state trooper soon spotted a car that Chicago police linked to the robberies. The vehicle tried to speed away but crashed on the Eisenhower, striking two other cars and leading to the arrest of four suspects.
The arrests are welcome news. Armed robbery crews have been committing similar robbery sprees on a near-daily basis for weeks, mostly in West Town, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square, but sometimes dipping into Lincoln Park, downtown, and the North Side.
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. He told his constituents that Chicago police had “a concrete and collaborative plan for addressing this issue.”
Law enforcement sources have told CWBChicago that they believe at least three groups of robbers have been involved in the holdups, so there may be more work to be done.
We will post a full update if prosecutors approve charges against the four suspects in police custody.