CHICAGO - Three juveniles are facing charges Tuesday in connection with a series of recent robberies on the CTA.
Two of them — a 15-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy — were accused of stealing a local actor’s phone on a CTA Red Line train and striking him unconscious, police said.
Will Clinger, who hosts "Wild Travels" on PBS, was headed to meet a friend and when a woman snatched his phone as the train pulled into the Addison Street station near Wrigley Field and ran out the door.
"It was a total surprise when I suddenly found somebody grabbing my phone out of my hands and racing out of the car," Clinger told the Chicago Tribune. "I probably mistakenly dashed out the door after them, giving chase to try to get my phone back. And the last thing I remember is falling, and I don’t even remember landing."
One of them punched the man in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head on the wall, according to officials.
The fall caused some bleeding in his brain, a contusion, four stitches on his forehead and a swollen hand.
The teens were arrested Monday in the 5100 block of South Wentworth Avenue, police said.
The 15-year-old girl was also accused of robbing a 74-year-old man on March 21 at the Fullerton Red Line station in Lincoln Park. She also allegedly robbed a 28-year-old woman on April 25 near the Thorndale Red Line stop in Edgewater, police said.
A 15-year-old boy is facing two felony robbery charges. The first robbery was a 33-year-old man on April 13 at the Harrison Red Line station in the South Loop, police said. The boy was also accused of robbing a female on the same day in the 1800 block of West Howard Street.
The 17-year-old was also charged in both April 13 robberies.
Chicago politicians and officials have voiced concerns over an increase in crime on the CTA with mayoral challenger Willie Wilson calling on the city to do more.
"You [used to have] people coming from the suburban areas on CTA," Wilson said Monday. "Now, they’re not doing it because they’re afraid of the crime. … A lot of people don’t come to Chicago no more. They don’t even come for tours. I’ve got people who are suburban who are afraid to come. People are afraid. Look how many tax dollars you’re losing just from people who don’t come to Chicago and go elsewhere to shop. You’re defeating yourself right there."
Two months ago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Police Supt. David Brown and CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. unveiled a plan to "more than double the resources" devoted to unarmed private security guards and "strategically adjust resources" from within the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism to better address shifts in crime patterns" on public transit.
Brown said on that day the additional officers would be divided into teams focusing on gang and drug crimes in response to complaints from "CTA customers that they see drug dealing" and "conflicts associated with gangs."
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.