Police: Hammer-wielding armed robbers attacking victims in Lakeview

October 1, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Chicago police say there have been at least three attacks since last May. The most recent incident took place Monday in the 3000-block of North Seminary. You've heard of people being robbed at gunpoint. In these cases, a hammer was the weapon of choice. And many of the victims were badly-outnumbered.

The most recent robbery happened early Monday morning, here in the 3000-block of North Seminary Avenue. The victim struck in the leg by a hammer after being approached by a group of six people.

"Definitely makes me look over my shoulder a little more," said Mike Kurek, Lakeview resident. "I live around here, and I work around here. So I'm definitely going to watch myself a little more."

It was the third reported incident in recent months involving hammer-wielding robbers. All the muggings taking place after midnight, and all within a mile of each other in East Lakeview.

"Besides not listening to my headphones as loudly, definitely I'll maybe cut down the running at night," said Lucy Nowakowski, Lakeview resident.

The community alert is the third issued by police for East Lakeview in less than a week.

Residents on Tuesday are also being warned about a series of purse snatchings, in some cases, carried out by groups of men dressed as women. And last week, an alert warned of three men robbing pedestrians at gunpoint, with one of the suspects wearing a clown mask.

Adding to the bizarre crimes, Lakeview resident Phillip Balick told us a naked man recently broke into his building.

ABC7's Eric Horng asks, "Is there something in the water in Lakeview?"

"Well, I don't know about that. I think there's something in the alcohol that we drink around here because there's a lot of people drinking out here, too," said Balick.

Police say overall crime is down in East Lakeview, known by many as "Boystown," but the ABC7 I-Team recently learned this popular entertainment district ranked highest in robberies this past summer.

The I-Team was shown how police have beefed-up foot patrols, but on Tuesday neighborhood business leaders called for even more police manpower.

"We always want more police officers. We need our police officers. We want them on foot. We want them visible," said Maureen Martino, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce. "It has to come from downtown. We really need more officers."

Most of these robberies occurred between midnight and 4am. Police are asking people to use common sense and avoid walking alone late at night.

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