CHICAGO — A group of armed men has been ordering Uber rides to the West Side and then robbing and physically attacking the drivers when they arrive at their destination, Chicago police said Sunday night. At least six drivers have been targeted this month.
It is the second crime pattern involving gunmen attacking and robbing ride service drivers in the area.
Police said the offenders ordered rides through the Uber app to take them to addresses, mainly in the Garfield Park area. Upon arrival, the passengers pull out guns and order the driver to surrender their valuables. The robbers pistol-whipped four of the victims in the face and head to “force compliance,” the CPD alert said.
Detectives linked six recent cases to the group:
- in the 500 block of North Monticello at 12:30 p.m. on January 3 and 8:15 p.m. on January 10
- in the 100 block of South Bell at 12:29 p.m. on January 6 and 10 a.m. on January 10
- in the 3600 block of West Franklin at 7:05 p.m. on January 14 and 3:25 a.m. on January 15
The alert said the robberies involved two to four Black males between 16 and 18 years old. They stand 5’6″ to 5’10” tall and wear dark clothing and black ski masks.
Information about the crimes can be shared with Area Four detectives at 312-746-8253. Refer to crime pattern 24-CWP-004.
Earlier ride service warning
Late last year, Chicago police warned that ride service drivers were being robbed while dropping off passengers in a nearby part of the West Side.
Police said the victims were dropping off or picking up passengers when a group of three or four gunmen approached their vehicles. One robber opened the driver’s side door and ordered the driver to surrender their phone and wallet. They forced the victims to reveal their phone PINs and pistol-whipped many of the victims, police said.
The pattern involved robberies in:
- the 5900 block of West North Avenue at 5:35 a.m. on December 3
- the 5200 block of West Hirsch at 3:45 a.m. on December 6
- the 5400 block of West Le Moyne at 4:45 a.m. on December 12
- the 5100 block of West Dickens at 3:25 a.m. on December 20
- the 5100 block of West North Avenue at 5:28 p.m. on December 20
- the 2000 block of North Leclaire at 3:25 a.m. on December 23
- the 2000 block of North Lawler at 6:15 a.m. on December 24
CPD said the robbery crew consisted of Black males between 16 and 20 years old. The group stands 5’6″ to 5’9″ tall, weighs 140 to 160 pounds, and wears dark clothing.
Three ride service drivers were also shot in the neighborhood during December and early January, two fatally, during suspected robberies.
On December 3, Mohammed Al Hejojm, 39, was shot and killed as he brought his 2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV to a stop in the 1700 block of North Lotus. Witnesses told police they heard gunfire around 5:45 p.m. and saw four people get out of the Cadillac and run away.
On Tuesday, December 26, Adriana Arocha-Duque was fatally shot while working ride-share in the 4800 block of West Thomas. Police officers responding to calls of a traffic crash found her behind the wheel of her car with a gunshot wound to the head.
Witnesses told police they saw a man and woman get out of her car and run away after the crash, according to CPD. A source familiar with the case said investigators suspect Arocha-Duque was killed during a robbery.
On January 3, a 51-year-old driver was concluding a ride in the 900 block of North Leclaire when three men approached his car around 10:10 p.m., according to a CPD media statement. The robbers took the man’s phone and ordered him out of his Toyota Camry. He refused, and one of the robbers opened fire, striking him in the chest, police said. EMS took the victim to Mt. Sinai Hospital in critical condition.