Police: Group of robbers attacking victims walking downtown

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police issued a warning after multiple women were attacked downtown in the past week, one of them just blocks from Millennium Park.

The suspects are working in large groups of five to eight young men and women. Police said they believe the offenders are teenagers.

Police said the targets are women, mostly walking alone, on busy downtown streets. All the attacks happened before 11 p.m.

The most recent robbery happened in the first block of East Van Buren Street on Wednesday at 10 p.m. The victim was hit in the head before the group struck her and kicked her while she was on the ground.

Two Columbia College roommates said they walk together at night.

"It's a little less scary when you're walking with someone, you don't feel as vulnerable," said Sarah Eddy.

"If I am wearing headphones, I'll turn down the music, just making sure I'm aware of what's going on," said Heather Boon.

Another violent robbery happened at 9 p.m. Sunday in the 100-block of North Michigan Avenue, just west of Millennium Park. The third occurred in the 200-block of East Randolph Street around 9:15 p.m. that same night.

The thieves took cell phones and backpacks containing computer tablets and fled on foot.

Chicago police are urging women to use caution when walking around downtown.

"I'd like to think I could fight back," said Kendal Freeze, a Roosevelt College student. "Especially just being a student it kind of makes me nervous to leave my dorm room."

Police have no one in custody. Anyone with information is asked to contact Area Central Detectives at (312) 747-8384.
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