Arrests made after cyclists commit robberies in Oak Park, cops say

By Joseph Ruzich, Special to the Tribune
August 25, 2014 6:18 PM

Source: Chicago Tribune

Tribune photo illustration Urban Biker 'Gloves'

Tribune photo illustration
Urban Biker ‘Gloves’

Several individuals who police said were riding bicycles and robbing people in Oak Park over the weekend have been taken into custody in the near western suburb and in Chicago, according to Oak Park police.

One juvenile was arrested in Oak Park, and one adult and a second juvenile was arrested in Chicago, according to Oak Park police officials.

Charges against the individuals are unknown at this time.

Additional arrests are likely, police said Monday

A group of six to 10 individuals on Sunday took cell phones and wallets from individuals in the 1100 block of North Ridgeland Avenue, 300 block of Thomas Street and the 100 block of Lake Street between 10:45 p.m. and 11 p.m.

On Saturday, in what police believe is a related incident, a group on bicycles rode into a block party just before midnight in the 700 block of North Taylor Avenue and took a cell phone from a table, which was being used to play music.

The robbery victims told police that while no weapons were seen, their assailants said that they were armed.

One of the suspects, a juvenile, was caught within minutes of the Thomas Street robbery because one of the the phones had a tracking device, police officials said. The victims identified the suspect, who was picked up in 100 block of Washington Boulevard.

“These types of crimes are among the disadvantages of sharing a border with a major metropolitan area as criminals can simply hop on a bicycle, cross the border to commit crimes and then flee back into a dense, urban neighborhood,” said Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley in a statement. “It is with crimes such as these that law enforcement agencies often must rely on cooperation and coordination to make arrests. That is exactly what we were able to do with these individuals.”

Tanksley praised the victims for keeping calm, complying with their assailants’ demands and quickly notifying the police.

No injuries were reported.

Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune


TakeAways

My, oh my. This has to be a really difficult thing for the average Urban Cyclist to explain away. They will probably have their StreetsBlog lapdogs try offering a spin on this bit of news (or else it will be ignored completely) to explain away the concerns of folks who complain about cyclists (in groups) riding through their neighborhoods and causing havoc.

Now it turns out that indeed cyclists can be the ‘bad guys‘. It can no longer remain in doubt that when you have cyclists riding through your neighborhood you may indeed have ‘safety concerns‘ that are legitimate and have little to do with ‘cycling as an activity‘. Where are the usual suspects (motorists, pedestrians and nasty truckers) when you need them to serve as the place to ‘lay off‘ the blame. Tsk-tsk.

Now there. Doesn’t that feel better to deflect all that criticism and scrutiny to the evil ones in our society? Whew!

Reply by Jonathan Quist 2 hours ago

Obviously these are the rogue bikers that the folks in Barrington Hills are worried about.

The comments from the Oak Park police chief are a bit off-putting. According to google and Bing maps, the location of the block party is about 550 feet from the Chicago line, and quite frankly the region on the Oak Park side of the line looks every bit as dense as the region on the Chicago side. An individual could simply run and be back in the big scary city in under a minute. Of course, pursuers could as well. But if you’ve just had your phone stolen by someone claiming to be armed, how far are you going to chase them on a dark night?