More carjackings hit the city as Chicago police lay out plan to curb them

CHICAGO — Five more carjackings happened Thursday evening into early Friday morning as Chicago police try to tackle the ongoing crimes.

The carjackings happened at the following locations and times:

  • 400 block of North Cicero Avenue around 6:40 p.m. Thursday
  • 4500 block of South Ellis Avenue around 8 p.m. Thursday
  • 2100 block of West Cortland Street around 8:50 p.m. Thursday
  • 4500 block of South Cicero Avenue 10:30 p.m. Thursday
  • 9500 block of South Forest Avenue around 12:50 a.m. Friday

According to officials, the suspects range in age from 15 to 20, but the youngest they have seen was 12 years old. The motives include joyriding and using the cars to commit other crimes such as robberies.

During a public safety committee meeting, police said there have been 166 carjackings in the first three weeks of the year.

Police said in 2020, there were 1,127 related arrests for vehicular hijacking, aggravated vehicular hijacking and criminal trespass to vehicle. Of that number, 117 arrests were for aggravated vehicular hijacking, 61 for vehicular hijacking, and 949 for criminal trespass to vehicle.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said 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 the 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.

Police are not the only ones taking action. At the site of a Christmas morning carjacking at the corner of 59th and Ashland, 16th Ward Ald. Stephanie Coleman announced a new program called “Operation Safe Pump.”

Members of Kates Security are donating their time by staffing 50 gas stations across the city between 5 and 7 p.m.

“When a woman can’t even go to neighborhood gas station with Christmas gifts for her grandchildren, we’ve got to do something,” said Coleman.

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.