Police issue alert after 5 armed robberies

June 24, 2011 (CHICAGO)

A total of five armed robberies have taken place - four on June 11 and one on June 17 - in which the victims were ambushed in or near a garage.

During one of the robberies, 66-year-old Lydia Williams received a severe blow to her head. Her family says she is still in the hospital and will most likely need extensive rehabilitation.

"Everything is working. She'll smile at you, she knows your name. But at first she was out of it. She was like a 2-year-old child," Linda Staples, sister.

Williams was hit in the head while three young men robbed her and her brother at gunpoint in their garage on the 9800 block of Martin Luther King Drive.

"They were putting stuff in the car to take back to Menards, and they jumped out of a car so fast and they grabbed her," said Staples.

The robbery is one of at least five cases which police believe are related to the same group of offenders. It is the only one where someone was injured. It is also the only one that took place on Friday, June 17.

The other robberies all took place in a two-hour period on Saturday, June 11 in the middle of the day in the same general area, as people stood in their garages.

Leroy Toliver's neighbor across the street is one of the other victims.

"These guys came by walking through the alley…when he went back into his garage another person slipped inside and he was faced with a gun," said Toliver.

In almost every case, the victims report that the offenders drove off in an older model, blue, four-door Chevy Impala. Police released a surveillance photo of the vehicle taken on the 1200 block of East 97th Place where several of the homes, including the one that was robbed, have security cameras.

Residents in the affected neighborhoods say the robberies have already changed their habits as they go in and out of their garages.

"My stepfather recently started closing and locking both sides of the garage, the interior side and the exterior side. We obviously always keep the exterior side closed, but now we take extra precautions," said Ashley Lewis.

Police have only a general description of the offenders, saying they are three black males between the ages of 18 and 25. They are hoping that someone will recognize the vehicle and report it to detectives at area two or to 911.

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