CHICAGO (CBS) — The Fulton Market District is trying to keep its restaurants and stores alive amid the pandemic and the prospect of winter – and now, the problems have been compounded by a series of violent purse snatchings.

As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, police put out a community alert this weekend about the purse snatchings in West Town and on the Near West Side.

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The incidents are especially alarming because police said they happened in the afternoon hours – and in at least one case, a woman was beaten.

So far, officers know of four robberies, all in locations within minutes of each other. The attacks happened in the afternoon hours at the following locations:

• The 400 block of North Aberdeen Street;
• The 200 block of South Aberdeen Street;
• The 200 block of North Racine Avenue;
• The 1000 block of West Grand Avenue.

The robberies on Aberdeen Street happened early last week. The ones on Racine and Grand avenues happened last Thursday.

On Sunday, Graves went to the corner of Aberdeen and Hubbard streets where one of the robberies happened. A nearby business owner said one woman was attacked in front of some homes.

Police said in each robbery, men would strike up a conversation with the victims. They would then aggressively take the victims’ purses and throw them to the ground.

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And officers said in one case, a suspect hit a woman twice in the face.

Melynda, a Fulton Market resident, was still walking around with a bag Sunday. But she expressed serious concerns about safety.

“We see this all the time, but we also see people who don’t live in the area driving around,” she said. “The women are always walking around freely to the store and under the viaducts. And what seems to be safe has not been.”

Police believe two men are involved, each wearing dark clothing and masks. One victim said she saw a red stripe on one suspect’s black jacket.

There was no word late Sunday if surveillance cameras picked anything up.

Anyone with information is asked to call Area Three detectives at (312) 744-8263.

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