Police step up patrols after string of similar robberies in Streeterville

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CHICAGO — Police are stepping up activity in the Streeterville neighborhood, adding undercover officers and bike patrols,  after a series of similar robberies took place in the area over the past two weeks.

The latest incident happened around 9 p.m. Monday, when a group of three men approached three women in their early 20s as they walked on the 200 block of East Chestnut. Police said the men attempted to take their personal property, and one of the women was punched in the face.

Police aren’t confirming yet whether this latest robbery is linked to four other recent incidents in the area, but they are strikingly similar. Each incident involved three men who jumped into a white SUV, most likely a jeep.

"Five is five too many," said Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward). "We have an idea of where this vehicle is when it’s not in Streeterville, and police are actively looking for them right now."

The other incidents occurred:

  • Evening of Jan. 3 in the 900 block of North Dewitt Place
  • Morning of Jan. 2 in the 800 block of North Dewitt Place
  • Evening of Dec. 30 in the 200 block of East Pearson Street
  • Evening of Dec. 24 in the 900 block of North Dewitt Place

One resident said the robberies are a hot topic now, and it's the first time in 20 years that it's been an issue. Another long-time resident, Dorene Benuck, said she doesn't use her phone when she walks around the neighborhood now so she can be aware of her surroundings.

Mark Fischer, whose mother lives in the area, says he's going to encourage her to stay inside.

"I’m not letting my mom outside walking the dog at all while this is going on. It’s just not happening," Fischer said.

Police are now looking at surveillance video to see if they can get a better description of the men and the car. Investigators have not released a good description of the offenders yet because they wear hoodies and cover their faces.

No one is in custody, and anyone with information is asked to call Area Central detectives at 312-747-8380.

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