CHICAGO (CBS) — Armed carjackings, robberies, shootings, police chases – these are just some of the crimes of which crews of teens have been accused in recent weeks.
At least 10 police departments are trying to determine a possible link.
The days-long crime spree started at a South Side Chicago gas station on Dec. 28. As seen on surveillance video, the suspect was wearing a red and white jacket as he lingered while a car owner filled up.
Someone is then seen slipping into the driver’s seat of the silver Chevrolet Impala. The owner chased after him and was nearly dragged.
But it was too late. The car was gone.
The teen, Larrion Brown, waited two days before resurfacing in that very Impala. Police said he robbed a 7-11 store on Irving Park Road in the Dunning neighborhood and shot a clerk.
The clerk was described by his boss as dedicated member of the family. He was shot twice, once in the leg and once in the abdomen – and battled for weeks in a hospital bed.
It was all for just $38.
Brown was on the first stop of what would be a terrorizing trip.
From Chicago to Hammond, Indiana, Crest Hill, Naperville, Oak Park, Downers Grove, Lisle, Aurora, Broadview, and Boilingbrook – teens, at least a half dozen of them, are working small crews.
They are causing chaos – carjackings, shootings, robberies – and no suburb or city is off-limits.
The crimes have led police from several departments to try to connect the dots. They are searching for a possible connection, comparing surveillance, and looking for similarities.
Brown, 16, is 5 feet 6 inches tall and 150 pounds – with a heavy past. He has been arrested at least 10 times – mostly for drug and gun charges.
But his age allows him to get off easy, giving him the freedom to re-offend.
On Dec. 30, the same day of that 7-11 shooting in Dunning, Brown was seen getting out of the stolen Impala and robbing a Dunkin’ Donuts in Hammond, Indiana.
The 16-year-old carried on to Crest Hill, robbing another 7-11, and firing a pistol. The shell casings found at the scene matched those found in the Chicago 7-11 shooting.
Brown’s suspected heists came to an end Jan. 2 at a convenience store in Naperville. But he wasn’t arrested for nearly another two weeks.
And in that time, teens working in crews remained busy.
“The girl, you know, she was backing up. She tried to run. They were pointing a gun at her,” said Candace Jordan, who works at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Broadview that was robbed by two guys and a girl.
“For the encounter to be like that face to face, that is the one thing that plays a role in your mind every day,” she said.
The robbers jumped the counter and left with a few hundred dollars.
That same day, a Dunkin’ in Lisle was hit. Police said Devontae Johnson – seen on surveillance video wearing a black hoodie – was involved in robbing Jordan’s Dunkin’ too – as well as a Domino’s Pizza in Downers Grove.
“Broadview was able to get here quickly, chase them through Oak Park, and, you know, it went from there,” Jordan said.
Police said Johnson and several other teens took officers on a chase in a Mercedes Benz stolen from Bolingbrook before they finally taken into custody in Oak Park.
“You never know what type of lifestyle they had growing up, because still, right is right and wrong is wrong,” Jordan said.
It’s not clear if Larrion Brown was involved in all of the crimes. But in the robberies for which he is being charged, police found a common link – he is seen on surveillance video using his left hand to point his pistol.
Brown is he is being charged as an adult
Sources said they expect at least two juveniles to be arrested in the coming days for their role in these rings.