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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Two Carjackings, Blocks Apart, Reported Monday Afternoon In Noble Square And East Ukrainian Village

The two attacks on the same street occurred within two hours of each other, and one victim was shot at, according to police and witnesses.

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NOBLE SQUARE — Two people were carjacked along the same street in the Noble Square and East Ukrainian Village neighborhoods Monday afternoon, with one woman being shot at, according to police and witnesses.

One incident occurred around 3:35 p.m. Monday in the 1400 block of West Augusta Boulevard, police said.

The 30-year-old woman was walking away from her SUV when five people approached, displayed a gun and demanded her keys, according to police. The woman threw her keys on the ground. One of the suspects then “fired shots” toward the woman, said Michelle Tannehill, a police spokeswoman. The woman was not hit.

A neighbor who lives across the street was shoveling snow around the time the carjacking occurred and described what he saw. Block Club is not naming the neighbor.

The neighbor said he noticed a group of five people who looked to be teenagers walking in the middle of the road. They did not have hats or winter coats and two of them wore colorful children’s style backpacks, he said. They all wore high-end sneakers and several wore brightly colored clothes, he said.

When the group accosted the woman, the neighbor said he saw the woman throw her keys at the ground in the direction of the car. Then the tallest member of the group pulled out a gun at her.

“He was less than a body length away from her,” the neighbor said.

The woman turned her back to the man and ducked, missing the shot, the neighbor said. From across the street, he banged on his fence. Then, the teenager turned and pointed the gun in his direction, he said. 

“I saw the gun, then boom, he fired it. Then boom, he was pointing at me,” he said. “Then the smell of gun smoke was in the air.”

The neighbor said he laid down in the snow after seeing the gun pointed toward him. The assailants drove away in the woman’s car. The neighbor immediately called 911 and ran across the street to check on his neighbor. 

Though police said “shots” were fired, the neighbor said he only heard one shot and found just one shell casing.  

The neighbor moved to Wicker Park in 1999 and has lived on his current block for 15 years. He said Monday’s carjacking was the most dangerous crime he’s ever witnessed in Chicago.

“What I saw today was just brazen, that is what bugs me,” he said.

Detectives were investigating. A description of the suspects was not available. Any one with information, including security camera footage, should contact detectives at 312-744-8263.

The other carjacking occurred less than two hours earlier and about a half-mile east from where the Kia was stolen, also on Augusta Boulevard, in East Ukrainian Village. 

Around 2 p.m., the owner of a black BMW was carjacked on Augusta, between Honore and Wolcott streets, police said.

The owner of the car told Block Club he parked on Augusta to help jump a friend’s car using a battery in his trunk. While trying to jump the other car, a person got into the driver’s seat of the BMW and drove west on Augusta, the man said. Block Club is not naming him.

Security footage from the Shell gas station at the corner of Damen Avenue and Augusta captured the car speeding through the intersection, still with its hazard lights flashing and its trunk open.

“I know it’s been said a million times,” the man said. “Stay vigilant, and be conscious of your surroundings. Even during the cold weather, people are opportunists. … I’m thankful my friends and I are safe. It’s only a car and hopefully it’ll be recovered.”

More than 1,400 carjackings were reported across the city in 2020, up from 603 reported in 2019. The attacks primarily are occurring in the South and West sides, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan has said, but some of the biggest percent increases in carjackings have occurred in West Town, Wicker Park and Bucktown.

RELATED: Police Adding 40 Officers To Carjacking Unit In Response To ‘Chronic’ Problem — And Cameras Are Coming To Bucktown, Too

In Chicago, most carjackers are between 15 and 20 years old and their motives include “joyriding and to facilitate anonymity while committing other crimes,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown has said.

As carjackings and stolen cars continue to be reported at a record pace, some citizens are fighting back. A Facebook group dedicated to recovering stolen cars, The Chicago Stolen Car Directory, has helped to recover more than 200 stolen cars in recent months. 

RELATED: With Car Heists At Record Levels, Citizen Sleuths Take To Facebook To Find Their Stolen Rides

In West Town, neighbors created a Facebook group specifically to discuss and track carjackings. The group is called the Greater West Town Community Coalition.

West Town neighbor Erin Groble, who was carjacked at gunpoint in Wicker Park last month, created a Google Map in which she’s tracking carjackings using Chicago Police Department data. 

Credit: Chicago City Council Committee on Public Safety / Provided
A Chicago Police Department heat map shows where carjackings are being reported in the city.

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