CHICAGO — Armed robbery crews drove Chicago’s robbery reports up 23% last year, primarily because they were able to go on holdup sprees day after day without getting caught. For the most part, those sprees ended toward the end of 2023. Until last night, that is.
At least two groups of armed robbers swept across the city on Sunday evening and again early Monday, leaving more than a dozen victims in their wakes. Muggings were reported from Boystown to Wicker Park and from the Loop to North Center. No arrests have been announced.
The first wave of robberies began around 9 p.m. in Lincoln Park. Up to four men, at least one armed with a gun, got out of a silver Kia to rob the victims in the 2600 block of North Halsted. The crew, which may have had a woman with them, would strike again throughout the night.
In fact, they struck again just minutes later in the 400 block of West Wrightwood. Two victims, both 22-year-old men, were walking when four offenders walked up and implied they had firearms around 9:04 p.m., a police spokesperson said. They got a phone and a wallet from one man but didn’t get anything from the other.
Police said the crew escaped by heading east in a silver vehicle.
About 30 minutes later, more robberies popped up:
- Three men in a small sedan robbed a man in the 1900 block of West Armitage around 9:30 p.m.
- A woman was robbed while walking at Western Avenue and Nelson Street around the same time. She reported that several teenagers, all wearing masks, got out of an SUV and confronted her with at least two handguns.
- Five men with guns knocked a woman to the ground and robbed her in the 1700 block of South Halsted around 10 p.m.
Around 11:10 p.m., four armed men held two victims at gunpoint in the 400 block of South State in the Loop, according to the police spokesperson. The victims, ages 21 and 19, were not injured. Officers at the scene said the robbers were black males who all wore black clothing, except one who wore a yellow sweatshirt. They traveled in a black SUV.
About 20 minutes later, a group of robbers in a black SUV, all dressed in black except one who wore a yellow top, tried to rob a woman near Wood and Pierce in Wicker Park. They failed.
But they successfully robbed someone else in essentially the same location. That victim told police that the black SUV pulled out of an alley, and the group got out with at least one gun.
More robberies followed as midnight approached:
- A victim was struck in the head with a gun by up to six armed robbers near Adams and Damen around 11:30 p.m. They made him get on the ground and took his phone before escaping in a dark gray car. The victim described them as Black males between 20 and 25 years old wearing all-black clothing.
- A group of people traveling in a dark SUV with Florida license plates hit a taxi driver in the face and robbed him in the West Loop near Jackson and Peoria. An officer at the scene said two men and a woman exited the car to commit the robbery.
Yet another wave of robberies broke out this morning, starting around 2 o’clock.
The first victim was near Bissell and Belden in Lincoln Park when two men wearing all-black clothing jumped out of a white car. He ran away and did not lose anything to the crew. (Update: On Monday afternoon, DePaul University informed its community that this victim is a student at the school.)
But two women weren’t so lucky about 15 minutes later in Boystown. CPD said the women were in the 700 block of West Cornelia when three men robbed them at gunpoint. The group escaped in a white Kia with a sparkly license plate frame.
The same group is suspected of chasing down and robbing a man in the 1000 block of North Marshfield, too. That occurred around 2:35 a.m.
Until now, the city’s robbery problem seemed to be waning. According to the department’s latest statistics report, CPD handled 21% fewer robbery reports in the first four weeks of this year compared to 2023.
That progress could be in jeopardy if the robbery crews are back in business.