Man injured in strong-arm robbery on CTA train

June 8, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The latest incidenet happened Wednesday afternoon. Police say four men attacked a CTA passenger on a Brown Line train and stole his wallet and iPhone.

The victim was attacked by four males, CTA officials said, on the train around 3:40 p.m. The train's operator was notified of the robbery at the Chicago Brown Line stop, located at Chicago Avenue and Franklin Street. The conductor contacted the CTA Control Center and police were dispatched.

The victim is now at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in stable condition.

"They brought what looked like two students down, one of them was kind of holding the side of his face," said Jonathan Christens, witness.

Investigators will not say the incident had anything to do with the six assaults and robberies that have taken place since last weekend.

Chicago's top cop Garry McCarthy outlined his plan to address a rash of robberies and attacks in the downtown area. After City Council approved his appointment, the new police superintendent said the plan is to:

  • Monitor chokepoints into downtown
  • Deploy more undercover officers
  • Identify large groups likely to cause trouble without reference to race
  • "We engage in behavioral profiling. When people commit criminal acts, we will go after them, we will arrest them, and we will prosecute them," said McCarthy.

    So far there have been at least 30 arrests in mob-related incidents with 10 people, mostly juveniles, now facing charges from criminal mischief to trespassing to robbery.

    On Wednesday evening, the Guardian Angels deployed to one of the possible chokepoints -- an exit from the CTA's Red Line where they comforted some area residents. But the police and mayor cautioned against generalizing about the attacks, even if area merchants feel something sinister might be going on.

    "It resonates because it is a little different from what we have seen in past years," said John Chikow, Michigan Avenue Retailers Association.

    Longtime social activist and director of CeaseFire, Tio Hardiman says what is at play is peer pressure in depressed areas on the South and West sides. It is how some young people are responding to increased police presence in their neighborhoods.

    "The guys know they are taking a big risk by coming here, downtown," said Hardiman. "It is not really about robbing someone, it is about the sport, the excitement, it is a crime of passion and guys are giving in to their peers."

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