Single suspect sought for three of four robberies on Jan.
After a year of comparatively low crime, four robberies occurred in the early morning of Tuesday, Jan. 4. Three of the robberies appear to have been committed by the same offender, the South East Chicago Commission reported.
The offender in the three related incidents drove up each time in a four-door tan automobile, possibly a 1984 or 1985 Oldsmobile, and accosted the victims at gunpoint.
The last reported incident occurred at 6:05 a.m., when a woman, who is not affiliated with the University, was waiting for a bus at the northwest corner of 54th Street and Lake Park Avenue. The offender reportedly said "This is a holdup," to which the woman reportedly responded, "No, it is not," while striking him. In the ensuing struggle, she was shot, the bullet lodging in her abdomen. The woman, who was able to describe the car and the offender, is reported in stable condition at Cook County Hospital.
About 10 minutes earlier, the offender accosted a person who was walking on 55th Street near Blackstone Avenue. According to the victim, the offender got out of his car and said, "Let's see what kind of money you have." The victim gave him $8 from his backpack. The offender then took the victim's keys and reportedly said, "I'm going to pop you." The victim fled and the offender drove away, throwing the keys from his car. A passerby who witnessed the incident gave the keys and the license number to the police.
At 1:40 a.m., two students were walking on University Avenue near 56th Street when the offender got out of his car and at gunpoint took the students' wallets, one of which contained $75 and the other 50 cents. Ordering the victims to walk backward, he then fired a shot in the air and drove off.
The other incident occurred about 1 a.m. on 53rd Street between Lake Park and Harper avenues when five victims, all students, were confronted by three offenders, one of whom pointed a gun at them, forced them against the wall of a building and ordered them to empty their pockets. The offenders took $206 and fled in a silver four-door Taurus that was parked on Lake Park Avenue.
One of the offenders was described as a 20- to 22-year-old African American, 6'2", 180 lbs., with long straight hair and wearing a blue jacket and dark jeans. The other two offenders, also African Americans, were described as being in their middle to late teens and 5'8" to 5'10"; one of the two was wearing a Blue Devil jacket and dark pants.
"We believe the Chicago Police will be able to solve these crimes and arrest the offenders with the information they have," said Rudolph Nimocks, Director of University Police. "In the meantime, our officers have been alerted to the incidents and know what to look for. Thanks to the alertness of the people involved, we've got a license-plate number in possibly three of the incidents, as well as good descriptions of the vehicles and the offenders."
Robert Richards, South East Chicago Law Enforcement Coordinator, urged residents to use caution during the evening hours and in the morning hours before sunrise.
"People need to be aware of their surroundings, particularly when it's dark out," Richards said. "Looking out for oneself as well as others in the vicinity benefits everyone -- more crime is averted and more criminals are caught. We urge people to call the police immediately if they see something suspicious."
A growing awareness among the public is perhaps one reason why the crime rate dropped in 1993, Richards said. Crime for the 1993 calendar year decreased by more than 11 percent, with declines in every category.