CHICAGO (CBS) — More Chicago drivers are being terrorized by out-of-control carjackings, including at least four new attacks on the North and Near Northwest sides.
As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported, police said late Wednesday afternoon that they are working to catch all the carjackers. They said one concern is an obvious uptick on carjackers preying on rideshare drivers.
“They are preying on these Uber and Lyft systems, for obvious reasons. They may be using somebody else’s phone, meeting them at a specific corner,” said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan. “We’re working with both Uber and Lyft to see what we can do to assist them.”
The CPD said it is working with Uber and Lyft to see what information they can get from the app about the user accounts involved.
Across the North Side of Chicago and also on the Near Northwest Side, there was a familiar call on police scanners Tuesday as four different carjackings transpired.
The first happened in the 1400 block of North Dearborn Parkway in the Gold Coast. Police said a 57-year-old man was inside his car in an alley when two young men approached the side of the car with a gun, forcing him out before fleeing south on Dearborn Parkway.
The next incident happened about 15 minutes later and about 1.75 miles north – just after 6:30 p.m. in the 2700 block of North Pine Grove Avenue, at the north end of the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
A 61-year-old man was inside his car, again in an alley, when police said three people approached both sides of the vehicle – again with guns. They took the car and fled north on Pine Grove Avenue.
After an hour went by, the next call came about four miles away in the 1500 block of West Huron Street in West Town. That incident happened at 7:40 p.m.
In that incident, a 50-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were sitting in a gray Range Rover – not in an alley this time, but on the street outside of homes.
Again, two young men approached the car with force. A dispatcher was heard saying the victims had reported both assailants had both displayed handguns with green lasers on them, and took a phone as well as the Range Rover.
At 8:42 p.m., carjackers struck in the 1000 block of West Hollywood Avenue in Edgewater – between Sheridan Road and Kenmore Avenue and just west of the northern terminus of Lake Shore Drive.
This time, a 27-year-old man and woman were in sitting in their car, and three young men came up to their windows. This time, they took two cars.
A dispatcher said the woman had said the assailants “had an AK-47 and a handgun; took her car, her boyfriend’s car, cellphones, and other valuables. Caller was using a delivery driver’s phone.”
The assailants made off with two Dodge Chargers – one black, the other orange.
Chicago Police on Wednesday said they have done some internal shifting to accommodate for the rise in carjackings. But Deenihan said one problem police are encountering is that it is extremely difficult to identify the carjacking offenders.
“They are masked due to the pandemic, hoodie covering everything but the whites of their eyes, stick a gun in someone’s face, then take off with their vehicle,” Deenihan said.
With regard to the four carjackings on Tuesday, Deenihan said: “We believe those are connected. Based on investigative tools, we believe those may be connected.”
Deenihan said Chicago Police are tracking vehicles not just from where they are taken in carjackings, but from where they are recovered. He said all vehicles are fair game in carjackings, but certain high-end and luxury vehicles are targeted more often.
“A lot of the cars are just being taken, driven for 24 hours, dumped, and by that time they’ve already taken a new vehicle. There are cars that are being carjacked that are being used in shootings, robberies,” Deenihan said. “Some of the higher end cars are being taken, tagged and sold, but that’s less common.”
He added that it seems like there are a lot of younger offenders behind carjackings.
Deenihan emphasized that every carjacking situation is different, and he advises everyone to be “extremely vigilant.”
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