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CHICAGO — During a news conference Thursday evening, Chicago police said there have been 144 carjackings in just the first 21 days of 2021.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown says officers have arrested 104 people but it’s important to note in most of these carjackings, there are multiple people involved — two, three, sometimes four carjackers. To combat this surge, Chicago police are expanding the carjacking task force created last February.

CPD plans to to add enough staff so there can be a dedicated carjacking team in each of the five detective divisions throughout the city.

The department said they’re also working the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to focus on stronger prosecution.

Officials continue to warn the public about a string of carjackings and robberies across Chicago and the suburbs.

On Wednesday night, three rideshare drivers were carjacked on the city’s West Side near Ukrainian Village and Humboldt Park — one on the same block another rideshare driver was carjacked last weekend. 

The incidents happened at the following locations:

  • 2900 block of West Street
  • 1900 block of North Rockwell Street
  • 2500 block of West Chicago Avenue

Police said in all of these cases, the suspects order an Uber or Lyft, and when the driver drops them off at their destination, the suspects attack the driver and take off when their car.

Suspected carjackers aren’t just posing as rideshare customers. Police released video on Thursday that shows a carjacking on Wacker Drive near the Willis Tower Wednesday morning. In the video, an SUV pulls up next to someone sitting in a car. Someone gets out with a gun and orders the driver out and then takes off in the car.

Police said another robbery at 56th Street and Harlem Avenue is connected. Video there shows two people climb through the drive-thru window.

Other robberies have happened in Summit, Maywood, Matteson, Palos Heights, Oak Forest and Oak Park.

If anyone knows what that driver was feeling in the moment – it’s Erin Groble. She was carjacked last Saturday afternoon while running errands in Wicker Park.

“We wrestled a little bit and they got me out of the car and sped off,” she said.

The suspects are also wanted in other shootings and should be considered armed and dangerous. Officials released a stock image of the car they may be driving — a 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander with Illinois license plate BN48756.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.