Police arrest 1 robbery crew, but another hit the streets overnight as crime stats soar

Police units near Western and Hubbard after a suspected armed robbery crew crashed nearby on August 28, 2023. | Citizen app

CHICAGO — There are plenty of developments to report today regarding the months-long armed robbery wave that has battered some parts of Chicago.

  • Illinois State Police pursued a carload of robbery suspects after another spree hit Logan Square and Humboldt Park on Monday evening. Chicago police arrested three people.
  • Another robbery crew pulled off another string of robberies overnight, firing a shot during one holdup.
  • The head of the labor union representing Chicago’s TV news camera operators said the group will speak with station managers after two members were robbed in the field this month.
  • CPD’s newest weekly crime stat summary shows some areas of the city are experiencing triple-digit increases in robberies this month, with one area up over 300%.

The president of NABET-CWA Local 41, the union representing TV news camera operators, emailed the group’s members Monday evening to address the armed robbery of a Univision news crew earlier in the day.

The reporter and videographer were preparing to report on a wave of holdups when they were targeted in the 1200 block of North Milwaukee around 5 a.m. A group of robbers arrived in two vehicles, took personal property from the news crew, and stole the station’s video camera.

“I reached out to our photographer upon hearing about the incident and thankfully both he and the reporter are okay,” union president Raza Siddiqui wrote in his email to members.

“We have heard more about these crimes being directed towards our members. We will be engaging in safety discussions with management at news stations and want to hear from you directly about some protocols you want to see, and how we can support what you do,” he continued.

An ABC7 cameraman was robbed earlier in the month while preparing to cover a news conference on the West Side.

Robberies and arrests

More robberies were reported Monday evening. The crew used an SUV that was carjacked on Milwaukee Avenue a few hours before the news team was robbed, according to CPD records. Unlike countless other crime sprees, this one ended with arrests.

The first robbery occurred in the 1600 block of North Rockwell around 9:15 p.m. Three men exited a white SUV to rob a man at gunpoint there. Another robbery happened around the same time near Armitage and Francisco.

And at 9:24 p.m., two men exited a white SUV with rifles and robbed a 51-year-old woman in the 2000 block of North Mozart in Logan Square. 

Chicago police officers spotted the SUV, a white Ford Escape, in the area about five minutes later.

Illinois State Police troopers, whose pursuit policy is far less restrictive than CPD’s, chased the car until it crashed into an oncoming vehicle near Western and Hubbard around 9:35 p.m.

Chicago police and state troopers arrested three suspects.

More robberies

While the freshly arrested robbery crew cooled their heels at CPD’s Area 5 headquarters, another group of armed men hit the streets to commit more holdups. And this group is even more violent.

They started by robbing a woman in the 2400 block of West Rice in West Town around 3 a.m. She was sitting in her car when a vehicle pulled beside her, and two men got out with guns. One of them banged on her window with a firearm. They took her purse and phone and made her surrender her PINs, according to an officer at the scene.

Among the robberies that followed:

Three robbers hit a 67-year-old man in the head with a rifle as he exited the BP station at 1602 West Cermak around 4:15 a.m. They escaped in a white Kia sedan.

A 42-year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint by three men in the 1800 block of South Allport around 4:20 a.m. Again, they escaped in a white sedan.

Three men traveling in a white sedan robbed a 44-year-old man of his wallet in the 1600 block of West Lake around 5:15 a.m.

CPD officers radioed that they spotted the robbers Kia near Division and Paulina about ten minutes later, but they did not pursue the car.

Around 5:26 a.m., three masked men exited a white sedan and robbed a 55-year-old man at Shell, 505 North Ashland. Another holdup was reported around the same time near Ashland and Augusta.

Finally, around 5:30 a.m., a 51-year-old man was targeted by armed robbers who exited a white vehicle in the 2300 block of West Grenshaw.

Two robbers exited the car, and one fired a shot, a CPD spokesperson said, but no injuries were reported.

The offenders then struck the man in the head with a firearm, took his valuables, and escaped in the white car.

New stats

CPD’s weekly CompStat report released Monday shows sky-high robbery numbers for many neighborhoods.

Citywide, robbery reports are up 23% this year, according to CPD’s latest statistics report. But some areas, particularly Humboldt Park, West Town, and Logan Square, have been especially hard-hit.

In the Austin (25th) District, which includes the west side of Humboldt Park, robberies are up 115% this year. For the 28 days ending Monday, robberies were 306% higher than the same period last year. The district had 126 robberies between July 31 and August 27, up from just 31 during the same time in 2022.

The Shakespeare (14th) District, which includes the eastern part of Humboldt Park and Logan Square, West Town, Bucktown, Wicker Park, and parts of Avondale, is seeing a 56% increase in robberies this year. The last 28 days were 250% higher than last year—98 cases compared to 28.

Robberies are up 58% this year in CPD’s Near West (12th) District, which includes parts of West Town and the Near West Side, much of the West Loop, Fulton Market, and Pilsen. For the past 28 days, the increase has been 104%, with 96 robberies this year versus 47 in 2022.

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