2 men charged with armed robbery, carjacking spree in the Gold Coast, Chicago police say

Charles Benson (L) and Demontae Watkins | Chicago Police Department

CHICAGO — Prosecutors have charged two Chicago men in connection with a robbery and carjacking spree in the Gold Coast on Tuesday evening.

Demontae Watkins, 18, and Charles Benson, 20, are scheduled to appear before Judge Charles Beach for a detention hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse this afternoon.

Within 20 minutes, Watkins and Benson tried to carjack two drivers and successfully carjacked a third, according to Chicago police.

The spree began around 7:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of North State. CPD said two men pushed a 26-year-old woman to the ground and kicked her repeatedly while demanding her keys and valuables. The men ran away after a passing car “startled” them, police said. The woman declined medical attention.

Less than 15 minutes later, two men tried to carjack a 41-year-old man as he sat in his car in the 1400 block of North Astor, steps from Gov. JB Pritzker’s mansion. Police said the victim was sitting in his 2008 Audi sedan when the men climbed in, displayed guns, and demanded his wallet.

He complied and got out of the car. But the men couldn’t figure out how to operate a stick shift, so they got out and ran away, the police said.

Within 10 minutes, the same men successfully carjacked a 33-year-old food delivery driver in the 1000 block of North Lake Shore Drive. Police said two men walked up to the victim, displayed a gun, and took his 2019 Nissan Sentra.

The Chicago joint vehicular hijacking task force, comprised of Chicago police, state police, a high-tech federal helicopter, and other assets, happened to be working Tuesday evening. They quickly located the hijacked Nissan, tracked it to the 7000 block of South Wood, and arrested Benson and Watkins.

Both men are charged with two counts of attempted vehicular hijacking with a firearm, vehicular hijacking with a firearm, armed robbery with a firearm, aggravated battery in a public place, and resisting police, CPD said in a media statement.

Watkins, who also had an outstanding warrant, is also charged with unlawful use of a weapon and criminal trespass to a vehicle.

Benson faces additional charges of receiving or possessing a stolen motor vehicle and two counts of aggravated fleeing.

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