Caravan of armed men goes on robbery, burglary spree hours before mayor, top cop will announce crime strategy

CHICAGO — Just hours before Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and CPD Supt. Larry Snelling are scheduled to present their plan for addressing the city’s robbery problem at a noontime press conference, a three-car caravan of armed men went on a crime spree this morning in Old Town and along the Clybourn Corridor.

The crew broke into at least one business and robbed at least three people before one of their vehicles crashed into a Chicago police car. Ultimately, the crew got away.

This morning’s spree went down in less than 45 minutes, starting around 4:45 a.m. with an armed robbery in the 1300 block of North Halsted. A 29-year-old man was getting out of his car when a black sedan, possibly a Nissan Maxima, pulled up next to him, a Chicago police spokesperson said.

A group of four or five men exited the sedan, displayed guns, and took his valuables. He was not injured, police said.

An officer who spoke with the victim said the robbers were all Black males wearing black face masks, each armed with a pistol, long gun, or rifle.

Another man was robbed in the 1800 block of North Halsted minutes later. He reported that four men in a black sedan accompanied by a second vehicle robbed him at gunpoint.

Then, around 5 a.m., a man reported that three armed men wearing black clothing and black gloves robbed him at gunpoint of a phone and backpack near the corner of North Avenue and Sheffield.

At the same time, a group of men broke into the Lululemon store, 944 West North Avenue, less than a block away. Merchandise was found in the street and a CPD surveillance officer told field units that a black car, a white Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a red Alfa Romeo sedan were seen leaving the area on video.

Surveillance officers spotted all three vehicles—the Jeep, the Alfa Romeo, and a black Nissan Maxima—stopping together near the 2900 block of South Martin Luther King Drive around 5:30 a.m. The cars scrambled when police arrived, with the Jeep striking a patrol car as it sped away.

Police later found the black Maxima abandoned in the 4900 block of West Erie in the Austin neighborhood.

Robbery reports citywide were up 1% this year as of March 31, the most recent date for which CPD data is available. But the increase is far greater in many of CPD’s police districts. This morning’s crime spree occurred in the Near North (18th) District where robberies are up 15% this year.

Robberies are up 33% in the Lakeview-based Town Hall (19th) district, which covers the area between the lake and the river from Fullerton to Lawrence. North of there, in the Lincoln (20th) district, robberies are up 58%. Then, on the Far North Side, between the lake and the river from Peterson to the city limits, robberies are up 65% in the Rogers Park (24th) district.

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