A total of eight people, including one man who was shot, were robbed during a series of three incidents that occurred just minutes apart early Thursday morning in Chicago's River North neighborhood, police said.
In the first robbery, three men were walking on the sidewalk in the 300 block of West Ontario at approximately 1:45 a.m. when three armed men exited a black SUV. The gunmen took the victims' phones and wallets before fleeing the scene.
Approximately 15 minutes later, two men were on the sidewalk in the 600 block of North LaSalle when four men exited a gray SUV and announced a robbery. One of the offenders took the victim's iPhone while one of the suspects held a gun, police said.
Then, at approximately 2:18 a.m., two men and a woman were sitting in a parked vehicle when three people, two men and a women, exited a black SUV and robbed the victims.
A 31-year-old man was shot during a struggle with one of the offenders and was dropped off at Rush University Medical Center. The other two victims were robbed of their personal items, police said.
Just hours before the robberies, residents, detectives and business owners took part in a community policing meeting to discuss ways how to make the community safer amid a surge in recent crimes.
"This is probably the worst I’ve seen it in my life," said Sam Sanchez, a business owner who hosted the meeting. "I mean, we want our city back. We need help."
Ald. Brian Hopkins, who represents Chicago's 2nd Ward, which includes portions of downtown, said he's pushing for more police and new tactics to stop violent offenders in their tracks.
"When we had that crime spree last night on the northside, there was a moment when police officers were able to identify the vehicle and they started to pursuit, they had to terminate it, so the criminals got away," he said. "Technology can fill that gap."
No arrests have been made in the recent robberies. Chicago police have ramped up patrols in the area and placed more officers on foot to ensure faster response times.