Liquor store robbers go on another spree, slipping away from cops who saw one holdup in progress

CHICAGO — For the third time in eight days, armed men went on a liquor store robbery spree Monday night, according to Chicago police. Cops happened to be outside one of the stores as dispatchers broadcast a report of a robbery in progress at the business, but the offenders escaped after running through a gangway.

Monday’s robberies began around 8:43 a.m. at Mr. P Beverage Depot, 2006 West Division.

“Give me everything! Don’t move or I’ll shoot!” a robber announced while he and three accomplices displayed pistols, according to a CPD media statement. They demanded cash, punched the clerk in the face, and fled.

The same scenario unfolded 20 minutes later at Before You Go Liquors, 1917 West Fullerton. 

Finally, at 9:20 p.m., the group robbed Clybourn Market, 2807 North Clybourn. They also forced one of the store’s customers to go to its ATM and withdraw cash. Unlike the first two robberies, they did not punch the Clybourn Market clerk in the face.

Immediately after a dispatcher broadcast details of the Clybourn Market robbery, a sergeant reported that he and other officers were outside the store and saw the robbery in progress, according to CPD radio traffic.

“We’re right in front,” a sergeant radioed. “There’s somebody in there. There’s somebody in there. Get somebody over her right now. They’re running out. They see us.”

Officers said the group ran through a nearby gangway toward an alley: four Black males, one wearing a gray hoodie, and three wearing black hoodies with jeans. The cops searched a building in the area but came up empty-handed. A witness saw a white Jeep speeding from the area.

CWBChicago reported earlier this week that the liquor store robbers had been parking getaway cars in alleys behind the stores they target.

CPD’s community alert said the robbers were 20 to 25 years old, slim, and 5’9″ to 6 feet tall.

Tips about the crimes can be shared with detectives at 312-744-8263 or 312-746-7394. Refer to crime pattern #24-CWP-003.

Last Thursday, similar robberies were reported on the Northwest Side.

The first robbery on Thursday occurred at Elston & Kimball Liquor, 3753 North Elston, around 8:30 p.m. Police said three men, each armed with a handgun, took cash from the store’s cashier and fled on foot. Investigators later determined that the robbers parked their getaway car behind the stores, preventing their victims from getting a good look at the vehicle.

They struck again around 9:04 p.m. at Golden Leaf Liquor, 3652 West Irving Park. Police said two store employees were physically attacked by three robbers who took cash from the register. Once again, each robber displayed a handgun, CPD said. The victims declined medical attention.

Buy Low Liquor, 3360 West Montrose, was robbed around 9:30 p.m. The armed trio took merchandise and cash from the store At Value Liquor, 2914 North Central, battering two store employees and taking cash around 10 p.m. The fifth and final holdup occurred at Konrads Liquor, 6720 West Belmont, around 10:25 p.m.

More liquor stores were robbed last Sunday, January 7. Those were all committed by two armed men who entered the stores and demanded cash at gunpoint. Like the more recent holdups, the crew only took cash, not merchandise.

J&R Liquor, 2401 North Ashland, was the first store to get robbed when the gunmen entered around 8:45 p.m. Following that, a robbery occurred at Gold Crown Liquors in Wrigleyville, 3433 North Sheffield. Two masked men took cash at gunpoint and fled around 9:20 p.m. Finally, around 9:50 p.m., two men robbed Liquor Expo, 2154 North Halsted.

The crime sprees are the latest in a string of similar incidents targeting liquor stores and, sometimes, taverns in the city. Robbers have been hitting several businesses in quick bursts, only to return and do it again within days.

Some of the robberies have turned into shoot-outs.

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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