OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) -- We've been telling you for months about groups of armed suspects jumping out of cars and robbing people in Chicago – and now, surrounding suburbs are experiencing the same crimes.
CBS 2's Charlie De Mar spoke with police Wednesday about what neighbors should know.
In Oak Park, police issued an alert this week about a rash of armed robberies and carjackings that happened early Sunday morning – particularly in the northern section of the western suburb.
Police in Oak Park are calling the string of carjackings and armed robberies a trend – as are Chicago Police. Oak Park police Chief Shatonya Johnson said she is confident that arrets will be made.
In a span of about three hours – between about 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday – the quiet suburb of Oak Park was awakened by a rash of armed robberies and carjackings, and an assault. There were six incidents in all:
- At 2:50 a.m. Sunday, four armed men exited a dark blue sedan in the 6000 block of West North Avenue and stole a woman's purse containing two cellphones, and a wallet containing $500, credit cards, and identification. The woman's purse and its contents were later found in the 800 block of Fair Oaks Avenue.
- Between 2:55 and 3 a.m. Sunday, four to five people exited a dark-colored sedan with guns. A Villa Park resident was struck with the gun and their keys and credits cards were stolen.
- At 3:03 a.m. Sunday, four to five men in a dark blue sedan cut off a Wisconsin resident driving a gray Ford Fusion. The victim stopped and the men came up at gunpoint. The driver and the passenger of the Ford Fusion – a Glendale Heights resident – got out, and the driver was struck by are robber with a gun. The carjackers took the Ford Fusion, which was later recovered in the 2100 block of North Kenneth Avenue in Chicago.
- At 5:25 a.m. Sunday, a man exited a white BMW in the 200 block of Home Avenue with a rifle and asked an Oak Park resident to come over to him. The victim fled on foot, and the vehicle was last seen southbound on Home Avenue.
- At 5:49 a.m. Sunday, three men in a white BMW came up to two Chicago residents who were sitting in their vehicles while delivering newspapers in the 700 block of North Kenilworth Avenue. They demanded the victims' property – including a wallet and cellphone – and fled east in the BMW on Thomas Street. The BMW had been carjacked in Chicago, and was found at 8 a.m. at Latrobe Avenue and Thomas Street in Chicago's South Austin neighborhood.
- At 5:58 a.m. Sunday, two men got out of a white BMW and approached someone delivering newspapers in the 600 block of North Elmwood Avenue. One robber was armed, and the second took the victim's wallet, which contained $60 and miscellaneous cards. The suspects fled in the BMW, which was last seen headed east on Augusta Street.
"These aren't isolated. This is part of a pattern," said Roberto Billa, "and so hopefully we find a solution."
Billa said he spoke to an Oak Park police officer moments after the first incident in which the woman was robbed of her purse.
Her attackers jumped out of a car with guns, stole cash and credit cards, and dumped the purse in a backyard near Billa's home.
"The police officer asked me if I had seen a woman's purse in my yard," Billa said. "I told him no, but a short time later, I saw him identify the purse over someone's fence."
"What's going on?" added Oak Park resident James Martin. "Is it like a war? Is it a trend? I mean, have they found a new nugget to explore - people that are criminally minded?"
Police Chief Johnson said at least one of the cars used in the Oak Park crime spree was recovered in Chicago.
"We're also collaborating with our surrounding suburbs, because as you are aware, crime doesn't stop at borders," Chief Johnson said.
Leaders with the Chicago Police Department said teens in stolen cars are in large part responsible for the increase in armed robberies in in the city.
This year, Chicago has recorded 1,400 more robberies year-to-date than last year. Citywide, there have been more than 7,300 reported robberies.
"There's definitely a trend going on," said Chief Johnson. "However, it's not impossible to identify them."
"This is not something that you expect in Oak Park," said Billa, "but now that it's happened – and particularly six in one evening - now it's front-of-mind all the time."
"When you go in the garage, do this, do that, you know, and be very careful getting out and inside the car," added Martin, who said he has changed his behavior in the wake of the robberies.
Police urged people to walk in groups, avoid going out late, and to cooperate and hand over their belongings if robbed. More suggestions for anyone who witnesses or becomes the victim of a robbery are available here.
Anyone with information on the robberies is asked to call the Oak Park police non-emergency line at (708) 386-3800, or email at email@example.com.
There were also numerous armedthis past weekend. On Saturday night into Sunday morning, multiple students were near campus in Lincoln Park.
were also robbed at gunpoint near the Lake Shore Campus in Rogers Park early Sunday morning.
, five people were robbed within an hour in Lincoln Park, on the Near North Side, and in West Town.
On Monday and Tuesday,in broad daylight in and around .
Early Wednesday morning,still were reported in South Side communities. Several people were held up at a bus stop at 79th Street and Jeffery Boulevard.
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