FOX 32/SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - Police are investigating two carjackings reported just over three hours apart from Thursday night to early Friday.
A 39-year-old woman was sitting in her black Mazda CX-9 about 9 p.m. in the 1200 block of Fowler Avenue when two males approached her and one of them pulled out a handgun, according to a statement from Evanston police. They took her vehicle and her wallet and drove off westbound on Dempster Street.
About 12:08 a.m. Friday, a 36-year-old woman had just parked her gray Acura in the 1700 block of Washington Street when two males walked up to her, police said. One of them brandished a handgun and demanded her keys and purse. The suspects then drove away in the Acura.
Neither of the victims was injured, according to police.
On Friday, Evanston police were out canvassing the neighborhood where the second carjacking happened.
“Terrifying to happen in front of my house,” the second victim told FOX 32. “And then the other one that had the gun was telling the first one to take my keys, take my purse, take my phone. I managed to hold my phone back from them…then finally realized there was a gun being pointed at me, and just finally just told them to take it, take it.”
Officers later spotted the Mazda from the first carjacking eastbound on Harvard Terrace from Barton Avenue, with the Acura from the second incident following it, police said. They continued eastbound when officers attempted to pull them over and eventually split up at Ridge Avenue, with the Mazda continuing eastbound while the Acura turned south.
Officers pursued both vehicles, according to police. The Mazda eventually crashed into the security gate of a home in the 200 block of Custer Avenue and the driver got out and ran away on foot. A loaded .38-caliber handgun was found inside the Mazda.
The Acura proceeded into Chicago, and patrol supervisors called off the pursuit soon after, police said. It was later found parked and unoccupied in the 1500 block of Jonquil Terrace. Both vehicles were towed to the Evanston Police Department for evidence processing.
“Alarming and disturbing, we have vehicle thefts, we don't have a lot of incidents like this and we would just tell residence to be vigilant,” said Evanston Police Sgt. Dennis Leaks.
Police were trying to see if anyone witnessed anything in the neighborhoods. But some people were just hearing about the crimes for the first time from the officers.
“Scared, worried, you never thought it would happen in your neighborhood,” said Dell Lord.
Police say the victims handled the situation just as they should.
“They did the right thing, if you are approached by somebody, particularly armed, a car is a car, you can get another car, it's not worth your safety or your life, so they did the right thing by giving up their valuables and their vehicle,” Sgt. Leaks said.
Evanston police say they don't know if these carjackings are related in any way to similar crimes that recently happened in Skokie and Wilmette, but detectives from the various police departments are comparing notes.
So far, there have been no arrests.
Anyone with information about the carjackings is asked to call the Evanston Police Detective Division at (847) 866-5040 or text a tip to 274637 with “EDTIP” at the beginning of the message.