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Robbers target food vendors just trying to make a living all around Chicago

Armed robbers target street food vendors around Chicago
Armed robbers target street food vendors around Chicago 02:07

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Street food vendors say they are the target of armed robberies – and face dangers every day as they try to make a living.

As CBS 2's Marybel González reported Friday night, the most recent incident was captured on camera in Back of the Yards.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) said he is working with police at the Deering (9th) District station on the latest robbery, but he said it is an ongoing issue – not just in Back of the Yards, but throughout the city.

Surveillance video posted online captured a moment a street vendor took cover inside a store as men robbed him. One man carrying a gun pointed it at him and reached into the victim's pockets before running off.

This all happened early Thursday morning at the corner of Damen Avenue and Pershing Road.

But as Cardenas noted, similar attacks against vendors are happening across the city.

Olga Martinez has been selling snacks out of a cart along 26th Street in Little Village for the past 16 years. She says about three months ago, someone came up to her stand and grabbed $70 out of her pocket.

Martinez said it also happened to her fellow food vendors in the same area. She said some were robbed at knifepoint.

Martinez said she constantly lives with the fear that she may be targeted again. Like many other vendors, she works during the nighttime and early-morning hours – when there aren't many people around.

But for vendors like Martinez, their food stands are their only source of income. Selling food on the street is how they put food on the table.

The vendors we spoke with said they would like to see more police patrol, especially when it's dark outside.

We reached out to the Chicago Police Department on the latest incident in Back of the Yards, and we were waiting to hear back late Friday.

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