Northwest side women, be alert: There recently have been a rash of robberies in the late evening or early morning hours, police say.
The robber usually approaches victims from behind and robs them of purses, money and cell phones, an alert from Shakespeare District police said. Most of these incidents are occurring within the boundaries of Ashland to Central Park, and Division to Diversey.
"You see a lot of people walking with on their phones, distracted, that's probably when they get targeted," said resident Tasso Papagiannoupoulos.
Surveillance cameras from Penny's Noodle Shop, at 1542 N. Damen Ave., recorded one attack early Thursday morning. An interior camera shows a man run up behind a woman and violently wrench away her purse before running off.
"This poor lady is probably going to work in the morning, and getting up at 5:30 is bad enough to be going to work, and to have some jerk just run up behind you and grab it, it doesn't make much sense," said restaurateur Gus Chiamopoulos.
The robber has been described as a black man between the ages of 18 and 39. He stands between 5 -foot-6 and 6-foot-6 and weighs between 150 and 180 pounds, authorities said. He's been seeing wearing a gray or brown hooded sweatshirt or black puffy coat. He may be driving a 1990s white 4-door Cadillac Deville.
Locations of other robberies include:
• The 3100 block of West Fullerton, Dec. 4, 2011, 5:20 a.m.
• The 1800 block of North California, Dec. 17, 2011, 6 a.m.
• The 1700 block of North Central Park, Dec. 21, 2011, 6:15 a.m.
• The 1900 block of North Western, Dec. 22, 2011, 11 p.m.
• The 2100 block of North California, Dec. 24, 2011, 7:30 a.m.
• The 2000 block of North Kimball, Dec. 31, 2011, 11:20 p.m.
• The 1500 block of North Hoyne, Jan. 3, 2012, 3 a.m.
• The 1700 block of West Wabansia, Jan. 4, 2012, 4:32 p.m.
• The 2600 block of West Wellington, Jan. 6, 2012, 8 p.m.
• The 2100 block of North Milwaukee, Jan. 8, 2012, noon
• The 1500 block of North Maplewood, Jan. 20, 2012, 8 p.m.
• The 1500 block of North Milwaukee, Jan. 21, 2012, 2 a.m.
Police on Friday released images of a four door, white Cadillac DeVille they believe the mugger is using as his getaway car in some of the attacks.
Women are urged to walk in pairs, walk only in well-lit areas, not walk while using earphones or headphones, and to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Anyone with information should call detectives at 312-746-8362.