Vehicle that had illegal guns impounded, as robbery mission teams patrol Jefferson Park area
by BRIAN NADIG
Mission teams, including state police units, have been patrolling the Northwest Side due to numerous armed robberies and other gun-related crimes, and last week officers had a vehicle in Jefferson Park impounded after guns reportedly were found inside it.
In recent weeks there have been multiple instances of gunmen exiting a vehicle and robbing pedestrians and bicyclists, including incidents in Albany Park, Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Gladstone Park and Norwood Park. In addition, many victims of catalytic converter thefts have been posting on social media surveillance camera footage of the theft, often with a lookout displaying a gun.
A Ford Explorer was impounded after officers reportedly found two illegal guns inside it at about 11:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, in a gas station and convenience store parking lot in the 5000 block of West Lawrence Avenue, according to 16th (Jefferson Park) District police.
Officers reported that they saw several people in the lot and believed an altercation was about to occur and that the individuals were detained for further investigation, according to police. At the time the officers were patrolling the area because of numerous armed robberies, police said.
Two guns allegedly were found inside the Ford Explorer, but no one was charged in connection with the weapons because it could not be determined who had been in possession of the guns, police said. The vehicle’s owner told officers that he was not aware of the presence of guns inside his vehicle and that he and some friends were heading to a recording studio in the 4800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, police said.
One of the guns was described as a .45 caliber handgun with an unknown number of rounds and a laser attachment, and the other was described as a loaded .40 caliber handgun with a defaced serial number, an extended magazine and a laser attachment, police said.
At about the same time in the same block of Lawrence, state police officers who were working the robbery mission were investigating a parked Hyundai with what appeared to be a bullet hole in the front driver’s side windshield, police said. Officers wanted to conduct a field investigation due to a recent increase in violent crimes involving Hyundai vehicles, police said.
During the investigation a man reportedly struck an arresting officer with his elbow in the chest, knocking a body camera to the ground, and he was taken into custody and faces resisting arrest charges, police said.
Also, on Aug. 16 state police apprehended a 16-year-old suspect who reportedly was driving a stolen vehicle and who is being investigated for possible involvement in a reported aggravated assault in the Portage Park area near Lockwood Avenue and Irving Park Road. The suspect, who is being held in a juvenile detention center, was apprehended following an approximate 15-minute car chase, police said.
The number of reported robberies through Aug. 20 this year in the 17th District is 126, up from 89 during the same period in 2022, a 42-percent increase. The number of robberies in the 16th District is 89, up from 73, a 22-percent increase.