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Robbers target CTA riders, drivers in downtown Chicago

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Police sent out community alerts about of two types of crimes happening in the heart of Chicago's downtown area as the busy tourist season gets underway. (WLS)

Police sent out community alerts about of two types of crimes happening in the heart of Chicago's downtown area as the busy tourist season gets underway.

The Chicago Police Department asked pedestrians and drivers to be alert. Thieves are after wallets, purses and cell phones.

Both sets of incidents happened in the Loop, the Near North Side and the River North neighborhood. The most recent robberies occurred near North State and East Lake streets.

One community alert said a group of offenders approached people on CTA trains, platforms or nearby sidewalks and used force to go through people's purses and pockets and steal their property.

Four robberies were reported in the last week of May. They occurred in the early morning hours.

A separate community alert was sent out about a rash of cell-phone robberies. The most recent incident happened four days ago on State between Grand Avenue and Illinois Street. Six people have had their phone stolen while driving.

Police said the methods of operation in these cases are the same: the suspect approached drivers while stopped, distracted them, opened their doors showing a gun and then demanded their cell phones before running away.

The thieves typically targeted drivers during rush hour, police said.

Police asked people walking and driving in the downtown area to keep an eye on their surroundings.

"Generally, I feel safe. That's all. I've never encountered a problem, either of us. People always say you have to be aware of anything that's going on around you," one man told ABC7 Eyewitness News along State Street.
Related Topics:
theftcellphonedrivingChicagoLoopRiver NorthNear North Side
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