CHICAGO (CBS) — Large groups of teenagers and young adults created chaos in Hyde Park on Halloween, vandalizing dozens of cars, harassing people attending a holiday street festival, and robbing University of Chicago students.
Witnesses said, around 9:30 p.m., more than 100 young people walked down at least three blocks in Hyde Park, yelling as they smashed windshields, broke mirrors, lit off fireworks, and jumped on cars on stretches of Kimbark, Kenwood, and Ridgewood. At least 18 cars were damaged on the 5400 block of South Ridgewood alone.
“I saw them jump on my car, and jump on just a whole bunch of other people’s cars as well. So it was like I wanted to do something, but it was like there is like 200 of them, so I’m going to just kind of chill,” said Nicholas Behzadi, whose car was one of those damaged.
Behzadi said he has footprints on the roof of his car, which has a broken windshield and dented hood.
Witnesses said some in the crowd took selfies as they went down the street. The group was so large, residents felt like they couldn’t do anything, and just had to stand by and watch as their property was damaged.
Police said a 55-year-old man was beaten after he came out near 54th and Kimbark to try to defend his vehicle. He drove himself to the hospital.
It was a loud and destructive scene, some of which was caught on cell phone video by people living nearby, who complained that police were not doing enough to stop the vandals.
“We saw a group of about 200 kids walking this way, with about 10 police officers in cars, with about another 15 on bikes, just sitting there watching them,” witness Joe Dadan said. “They came down our street, walked on cars, smashed windows, smashed roofs, hoods. They actually broke a window in a car, threw an explosive device in there.”
Behzadi was more understanding about the lack of arrests.
“It is kind of hard to arrest 150-plus teenagers. I mean, what are you going to do?” he said.
Police confirmed no one was arrested in connection to the vandalism, but officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the allegation officers didn’t do enough to stop the vandals.
The vandalism was just part of a night of mayhem in Hyde Park.
The University of Chicago reported a large group approached a student around 10:30 p.m. as he was walking near 56th and University, outside the Regenstein Library on campus, then punched him, and stole his wallet, cell phone, and keys. A short time later, the same group attacked a second student walking nearby, before running away.
The second student was taken to the University of Chicago emergency room for treatment. The first student was not injured.
Chicago police have not said whether the robberies were linked to the vandalism.
Meantime, a large group of teens blocked traffic at the intersection of 53rd an Lake Park earlier in the night, and swarmed into Downtown Hyde Park along 53rd Street, where a family friendly Halloween festival had taken place that evening.
Police said 11 juveniles and one adult were arrested for reckless conduct for the incident at 53rd and Lake Park around 7:15 p.m. Police said they were seen throwing eggs and golf balls at other people, and punching people near a Halloween festival, and then disobeying police orders to disperse.