Rifle-wielding crew commits at least 5 robberies in 20 minutes on Saturday morning

CHICAGO — A carload of men armed with rifles committed at least five robberies in about 20 minutes Saturday morning in Wicker Park, Bucktown, and the West Loop. The offenders struck some of the victims with firearms, according to Chicago police reports reviewed by CWBChicago.

Surveillance footage of one robbery showed the robberies involved four Black males who appeared to be in their mid to late teens. Three wore black hoodies, while the fourth wore a gray hoodie. They all wore masks, traveling in a silver Hyundai with a broken rear passenger window covered with a plastic sheet or trash bag.

All of the robberies occurred between about 4:20 a.m. and 4:40 a.m.

In Wicker Park, robberies were reported in the 1400 block of North Milwaukee and the 1500 block of North Milwaukee, according to preliminary CPD reports. Another report was taken from a victim at Ashland and North Avenue in Bucktown.

A few minutes later, a woman was robbed at gunpoint by men who displayed at least one rifle in the 900 block of West Randolph in the West Loop. The robbers hit the woman in the face before fleeing.

Another woman was robbed around the same time near Lake and Elizabeth streets by two men who exited a silver Hyundai with two rifles.

No arrests have been made.

Across Chicago, robbery reports are up 24% from last year and 30% from 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

But the story is much worse in the police districts where this morning’s robberies occurred, Near West (12th) and Shakespeare (14th). Compared to last year, robbery reports are up 59% and 53% respectively. They’re up 78% and 96% versus 2019.

The increase is primarily due to incessant armed robbery sprees like the one experienced Saturday. Small groups of young men, usually traveling in stolen cars, sometimes commit more than a dozen robberies at a time.

But the Chicago Police Department has become so risk-averse that its supervisors almost always order patrol officers to terminate pursuits of violent offenders, even if the cops see an armed robbery committed firsthand.

As a result, the crews get away, and the scenario repeats itself again and again.

The city is now relying on the Illinois State Police, which allows troopers to chase dangerous criminals, to handle pursuits.

Here is some of our recent coverage:

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com