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Armed Robbers Are Attacking, Beating People At Their Garages In Alleys On Southwest Side

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An alarming crime has been hitting Chicago's Southwest Side - unsuspecting people are violently attacked and robbed alone at their garages in alleyways.

The crimes are happening in the neighborhoods near Midway International Airport. As CBS 2's Steven Graves reported, Chicago Lawn (8th) District police put out a warning Tuesday after we started asking questions.

Four recent robberies are connected, but there could be more – including one caught on camera that has had neighbors furious.

One robbery happened at 4 p.m. late Thursday. Surveillance video shows two people in a white sport-utility vehicle trailing behind a driver in an alley near 55th and Richmond streets in Gage Park.

The victim backs into his garage, and a passenger in the suspect vehicle gets out.

Police said the passenger pointed a gun and repeatedly beat the 48-year-old man in the head - taking his personal property and money before getting away.

Jose Ortiz pleaded for his life days later in a similar attack. He screamed to warn his wife as he loaded his car Sunday morning.

Ortiz was also attacked and robbed at his garage in an alley at 45th Street and Keeler Avenue in Archer Heights. Two guys ran up to him speaking Spanish.

"[They said]: 'Give me the money or I'll kill you!' So they put the gun here," Ortiz said.

Chicago Lawn district police have not connected the two aforementioned incidents, which were about three miles apart. But they say three other robberies are connected to Ortiz's case.

Two of them happened only a few blocks down in the 4900 block of South Keeler Avenue minutes earlier. Another happened at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11 in the 4000 block of West 49th Street near Pulaski Road.

This comes as the Chicago Lawn District – which covers much of the Southwest Side - deals with a steady rise in crime. Robberies are up 63 percent, burglaries and thefts each 50 percent, and aggravated battery a whopping 500 percent since this time last year.

Ortiz, 58, is now bruised by multiple crimes. He has a black eye and bumps on his head, and the thieves took his money and jewelry.

Graves: "Were you scared?"

Ortiz: "Yeah, they took everything."

Ortiz plans to spend more money for cameras - hoping to get peace of mind.

No one is in custody for any of the robberies. Anyone with information should call Area One detectives at (312) 747-8380.

The full community alert is below.

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