CHICAGO — As yet another armed robbery spree unfolded overnight, Chicago police officers saw armed men robbing victims on the North Side, but their supervisor ordered them not to pursue the offenders, who drove away and committed even more crimes.
The blood-boiling decision is sure to raise questions about the legitimacy of claims made by public officials that CPD has a concrete, collaborative and robust plan to end a months-long surge in armed robberies.
This morning’s spree began around 2:15 a.m. in the 2400 block of North Ashland. A man and woman told police that two armed men got out of a gray SUV and robbed them at gunpoint, Chicago police said. Cops later determined that the getaway car was a Dodge Durango stolen from the 6900 block of North Clark on Tuesday, according to a source.
About 10 minutes later, another robbery occurred in the 5200 block of North Damen. A surveillance camera operator in the local police district quickly spotted the Durango traveling in the area.
As they watched the Durango on video, the officers said they were watching them commit another robbery live on video in the 6500 block of North Western.
“I can see them right now,” the officer radioed. “They got long guns. There’s a unit on scene.”
That’s right. A squad car pulled up on the scene as the robbery was unfolding. This is starting to sound promising, isn’t it?
That patrol unit tried to pull the Durango over as they snaked through the North Side. Officers said four men were inside the SUV with their faces covered, bearing at least one rifle.
But not long after the unit started to chase the SUV loaded with armed, masked men who had just robbed someone as Chicago police officers watched, a CPD sergeant ordered the squad car to terminate their efforts to stop the Durango.
Here’s the audio from police radio traffic. Do yourself a favor. Take a blood pressure pill before you hit “play.”
Chicago has paid out tens of millions of dollars for lives lost and injuries caused by pursuits that ended with crashes. The police department’s written policy explicitly states that no officer will ever be punished for not chasing a suspect. And CPD supervisors have become so skittish about the possibility of something going wrong they’ve even ordered cops to stop pursuing a car suspected of carrying wanted murderers.
Of course, there’s a trade-off when the city discourages pursuits to save money and reduce the possibility of injury to third parties. That trade-off is that armed, violent people are not apprehended, and they continue to commit crimes.
That’s precisely what happened this morning.
At 2:53 a.m., about 20 minutes after cops were ordered to let the Durango go, four people were robbed at gunpoint by a group of men who got out of a dark gray SUV, possibly a Dodge Durango, in the 1600 block of West Ogden, a CPD spokesperson said.
The victims, a couple in their 20s and another couple in their 30s, were outside when the SUV pulled up, and all four men displayed guns while demanding their property. Police later found one of the victims’ phones in a trash can outside a Bucktown bank.
The cops described the crew as four Black males, all wearing black masks and black hoodies. One wore blue shoes, another had black Jordans and ripped jeans, and another wore black Yeezys. And, tellingly, one of their weapons was a rifle or long gun.
Just before 4 a.m., another robbery occurred in the 2600 block of North Milwaukee. A 31-year-old man was walking when a black sedan stopped, and four men got out while displaying two firearms, the police spokesperson said.
Minutes later, Chicago cops spotted the Durango again. They were in the 1400 block of North Milwaukee in Wicker Park this time. The officers radioed that they believed they interrupted the crew as they were trying to commit another robbery near Wolcott and Milwaukee. According to their radio transmissions, those officers followed the Durango for a short distance but did not try to pull it over.
Another string of robberies began around 4:45 a.m. It involved up to six masked men wearing dark hoodies and armed with multiple weapons, including at least one rifle or long gun. But instead of traveling in a Durango, a source said they got around in a gray Infiniti sedan that was stolen Tuesday in the 1100 block of West Farwell—less than a mile from where the Durango was taken.
First, they robbed a tourist in the 300 block of South Michigan in the Loop. Four men armed with guns took her phone, wallet, and keys. They drove away in the Infiniti, then came back and forced her to reveal her PINs, a police report said.
One or possibly two more robberies were reported to 911 around 5:30 a.m., but the Central (1st) District had no officers available to handle the calls, which sat unassigned for over an hour. When an officer finally became available to respond, any victims were gone.
But, while the police department may have run out of resources, the robbers were still hard at work.
They pistol-whipped and robbed a woman in the 1700 block of West Chicago Avenue around 5:30 a.m., then fled in the stolen Infiniti sedan, a report said. Like before, they were all masked up, and one had a rifle. They got the victim’s purse and phone.
Chicago police officers found the Durango abandoned in the 1600 block of South Christiana around 8:15 Wednesday morning.
No arrests have been announced.
In some potentially good news, an interagency task force arrested two people early Wednesday after they pursued a stolen Hyundai Tucson used in at least one robbery attempt on Tuesday afternoon.
Here’s some video of the chase. Notice that the police vehicles in pursuit are state police units (blue and red lights). CPD vehicles (only blue lights) provide support:
In that case, two men jumped out of the Hyundai and pulled a gun on an off-duty police officer near a car dealership in the 5300 block of West Irving Park around 2:40 p.m. The cop ran into the dealership because he didn’t have his gun.
But bringing robbery charges is much easier if suspects are arrested quickly after the crime, according to cops we’ve spoken with. That’s because the suspects might still be wearing the same clothes as the robbers or could still have weapons or robbery proceeds with them. And it’s easier to link them to the robbery if they’re in the getaway car minutes after the crime instead of several hours later.
While similar robbery sprees have been happening for months, here is some of our more recent coverage:
- Armed men rob at least 11 people in 2-hour crime spree, Chicago police say (August 13, 2023)
- 3 suspects detained after Thursday afternoon robbery sprees in Logan Square, West Side (August 11, 2023)
- 2 robbed, 1 shot in about 20 minutes overnight (August 10, 2023)
- At least 13 people robbed in overnight spree; Troopers chase suspects, seize AK-47, but no arrests announced (August 9, 2023)
- Off-duty cop, 3 bicyclists, and a concealed carry holder are among the victims targeted in Chicago’s latest robbery sprees (August 8, 2023)
- As armed men commit 13 robberies at a time, Chicago alderman says ‘root causes’ must be addressed (August 7, 2023)
- Man shot during robbery in Logan Square is at least the 3rd person shot during holdups this week (August 6, 2023)
- Two-car robbery team struck at least 14 times on Thursday. And one was caught on video (August 4, 2023)
- Man shot in West Loop told police he thought gunman was trying to rob him (August 4, 2023)
- Daytime robbery sprees break out on Thursday; no arrests (August 3, 2023)
- Another night of armed robberies and Chicago cops are again ordered not to chase the offenders (August 2, 2023)
- Rideshare driver among 8 robbed by armed men in stolen Hyundai; shots fired (August 1, 2023)
- Carjackers shoot man in Bucktown, two more robberies reported nearby (July 31, 2023)
- Gunmen targeted victims at bank ATMs during Sunday afternoon robbery spree, Chicago police say (July 31)
- At least 14 robbed Friday in morning, nighttime holdup sprees (July 29, 2023)
- 14-year-old committed 12 armed robberies in 45 minutes, Chicago police say (July 26, 2023)
- 4 armed robbery suspects in custody after crashing on Eisenhower Expressway (July 25, 2023)
- 12-year-old boy gets mugged as Chicago’s robbery surge continues (July 24, 2023)
- As armed robberies continue, an alderman promises police have a ‘concrete and collaborative plan’ (July 22, 2023)
- Daylight robberies return to West Loop, Logan Square; cops warn of holdup crew responsible for 60+ crimes (July 20, 2023)
- Daytime robbery spree ends with arrest after Chicago police supervisor authorizes vehicle pursuit (July 19, 2023)
- 2 more off-duty cops are robbed during overnight robbery spree that claimed at least 5 victims (July 17, 2023)
- Off-duty cop robbed in River North, woman carjacked in Lincoln Park, construction crew targeted in Logan Square as holdup wave rolls on (July 15, 2023)
- Robberies reported in Wicker Park, Bucktown, River North overnight as cops try to contain surging crime wave (July 13, 2023)
- Boy, 17, charged with mugging man near Daley Plaza as Divvy bike-riding robbers continue to hit the Loop (July 10, 2023)
- Dozens of victims robbed overnight as armed crews run rampant across Chicago (July 9, 2023)
- More (Yes, MORE) robberies reported in Bucktown, Logan Square, Humboldt Park (July 8, 2023)
- At least 9 armed robberies, carjackings reported in Logan Square and Humboldt Park overnight (July 7, 2023)
- Businesses, customers robbed in overnight holdup spree in Logan Square, Lakeview (July 6, 2023)
- 8 women robbed in 11 minutes overnight as Lincoln Park robbery problem grows and grows (July 4, 2023)
- Rifle-toting crew robs 10 people across Chicago on Monday morning (July 3, 2023)
- 3 more robbed in Lincoln Park overnight as crime pattern keeps growing (June 30, 2023)
- DePaul student among 4 victims in overnight robbery, carjacking spree (June 29, 2023)
- Armed men claim at least 8 victims in overnight robbery, carjacking spree (June 24, 2023)