Uber driver pistol-whipped, carjacked in New Lenox

An Uber driver was pistol-whipped and carjacked while picking up a customer Tuesday morning in southwest suburban New Lenox.

The ride-share employee, who is in his early 70s, was being treated at a local hospital for a head injury but is expected to survive.

Around 6:15 a.m., the Uber arrived to the 1600 block of Eagle Circle to pick up a customer, according to New Lenox police.

While the Uber driver was waiting for the resident, who had requested a ride to the airport, a white Hyundai Accent pulled up and two men wearing masks got out and ambushed him.


The incident, which unfolded in a matter of seconds, was captured by the Uber’s dashboard cameras.

"Two male, black individuals exited armed with firearms, wearing masks and gloves and hoodies, and forcefully removed him from the car at gunpoint," said New Lenox Police Chief Louis Alessandrini.

The suspects struck the Uber driver in the head with a gun and stole his wallet and cellphone, police said.

The two gunmen then tried to drive off in the Uber driver's car, a Toyota Venza, but had trouble operating it and didn’t make it very far.

"It’s either a hybrid or a fully electrical car. They demanded his keys, which he reassured them, and it’s on video, ‘they’re in the car, they’re in the car,’ and they had a hard time starting it," said Alessandrini. "They got about two or three houses away. They could not operate the car and they abandoned the car."

The suspects then got back into the Hyundai which was being driven by a third suspect and fled the scene.

Soon, neighbors heard the commotion.

"Looked outside my window, saw my neighbor consoling a gentleman on the ground, he had like a rag on his head, I thought maybe he was running and fell or something, I wasn’t quite sure until the police started pulling up," said Matthew Holdren, neighbor.

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Images of the suspects wanted for attacking and robbing an Uber driver Tuesday morning in New Lenox | New Lenox police

The investigation revealed that the Hyundai driven to New Lenox by the suspects was stolen out of Chicago on Monday.

"At first we thought it was a setup, like the Uber driver was sent here and it was a setup, but then to find out it wasn’t a setup, it just means that they were kind of casing the neighborhood and that’s frightening," said Holdren.

New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann said offenders traveling to the suburbs to commit crimes is becoming a concerning trend.

"This should come as a surprise to nobody. As the chief had stated, we don’t have a lot of these violent crimes, but without exception, when we have them, ultimately we find that they are committed by career criminals out of Cook County, that if they would have been prosecuted properly in the first place or jailed to even the minimum sentence, these things would not be happening," said Baldermann.

The victim's cell phone was pinged along Route 30 where it was recovered Tuesday.

Police said there is no connection between the person who ordered the Uber and the suspects. In fact, police said the Uber driver sought help by knocking on the homeowner’s door. That homeowner then called 911 and assisted the victim until an ambulance arrived.

New Lenox police worked with Chicago police to locate the stolen Hyundai the carjackers used. On Tuesday night Illinois State Police pursued the vehicle in Lawndale and arrested three juveniles and an 18-year-old man. 

The adult and the boy were charged with crimes committed in Chicago. The two young girls were released. 

No charges have been filed in reference to the incident in New Lenox at this time. This investigation remains ongoing.