Parents at a West Side elementary school are on alert after a series of armed robberies occurred on Wednesday afternoon.
According to Chicago police, a total of three robberies were reported within an hour of one another near Talcott Elementary in the city’s West Town neighborhood. Two of the victims were 14-year-old boys, who were robbed at gunpoint just steps from the school’s playground.
Police say that the boys were walking down a street in the 600 block of South Wood when a black colored vehicle approached and a man got out. The man then pulled out a gun and demanded property from the students before getting back in the vehicle and fleeing the scene.
After the incident, the students returned to the school, where they asked a classmate’s mother if they could borrow her phone to call 911.
“She was around the parking lot and two kids asked my mom to borrow her phone to call 911 because they got jumped,” Brandon Duran, whose brothers attend the school, told NBC 5.
Less than an hour earlier, a 33-year-old woman was walking in the 2200 block of West Huron when a dark-colored vehicle approached and two men got out. One of the men acted as a lookout, and the other, implying he had a weapon, demanded property from the victim.
20 minutes later in the 500 block of North Sacramento, an 18-year-old man and a 20-year-old man were walking down a street when a person got out of the same dark-colored sedan, pulled out a gun, and demanded money from the victims.
The string of robberies has residents on high alert, including Ferrai Pickett, whose niece and nephew attend Talcott Elementary.
“I walk the neighborhood two or three times a day and for something like that to happen is alarming,” she said.
Parents are also demanding answers from Talcott officials after they say it took more than 24 hours for administrators to send out an email warning of the thefts.
“I just feel like parents should know,” school parent Theresa Pickett said. “What if you didn’t pick your child up? Or your child didn’t know about the robbery, and you sent them to walk home today? It’s just really heartbreaking to know that your child is scared and doesn’t want to go to school because of a robbery a few feet away from him.”
In the letter to parents, Chicago Public Schools said that the incident is being taken “very seriously,” and that they are requesting extra police presence while they investigate the incidents.
No suspects are in custody, and Area Central Detectives are currently investigating the case.