Police issue community alert after string of Austin robberies

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CHICAGO -- Chicago Police have issued a community alert in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side after a string of robberies – each involving a group of as many as eight teenagers.

People in the neighborhood say they're a bit anxious and uneasy after the Chicago Police Department issued the alert, detailing a series of robberies in a two-block stretch of South Laverne Avenue. The first incident happened in the 200 block on April 21 at around 9:15 p.m. The next took place a day later, this time a block down, and at 6:10 p.m. And on May 3, police say there was another robbery in the 100 block, close to 9:30 p.m.

"That’s real scary, that’s real scary, I'm out here with my grandkids all the time," said Austin resident Dorothy Williams.

Said resident Kaneshia Jackson, "The community itself needs to come together and find out what’s going on, because it’s the kids that’s doing this, it’s sad. We need to help our children."

In each case police say a group of between three and eight teenagers approached the victims, punched them, and took their property. Police say they're now looking for the group of suspects, hoping to catch them before they strike again.

"I think you got to catch their a-- and put 'em in jail," Williams said.

Police are reminding Austin residents to use common sense and be aware of their surroundings. They're also asking residents to report any suspicious activity to detectives at Area North.