ROSELAND — A group of armed thugs is preying on kids outside of one of Chicago's elite high schools, leading authorities to issue an alert and create a "safe passage" so students can get to and from the school, officials said Wednesday.
Fellow students at the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy said the victims of three gunpoint robberies outside their school late last month were "stains" — kids who looked like easy marks who might have cash or valuables on them.
Police issued a community alert in Roseland on Wednesday, more than a week after the latest stickup.
The alert came too late for a 15-year-old boy, who, along with two friends, was victimized during the robbery spree.
The boy, whose name is being withheld at his mother's request, told DNAinfo.com Chicago that they were walking toward a neighborhood chicken joint when a group of eight teens, whom he believed to be members of the Black Disciples gang, began questioning him.
'What’s in your pocket, you look like you have something,'” the victim recalled them saying.
One of the robbers reached in the victim's coat and stole $2, the boy recounted.
The robbers took another of the victims at gunpoint to a vacant lot and took the his iPhone and his money, the boy said.
The third victim was stripped of his cellphone and cash after being taken to a nearby church, the boy recounted.
Police say three robberies occurred over a two-day period:
- A 15-year-old boy was robbed about 4:05 p.m. on Nov. 26 a block away from the school. One of the suspects pulled a gun on him and stole the boy's cellphone and wallet with an undisclosed amount of cash, authorities said.
- An 18-year-old male student was robbed of his cell phone and headphones at gunpoint about 8 a.m. on Nov. 27.
- A 16-year-old student was also held at gunpoint and stripped of his laptop, jacket, cap, bus card and cash on Nov. 27, just 15 minutes after the first robbery.
Police said the robbers ranged in age from 17- to 19-year-old. Some suspects had short dreadlocks, and three of them wore black facemasks that covered the lower half of their faces, police said.
Education officials stressed the robberies did not occur on the grounds of the "selective enrollment" Chicago Public School, which was listed by the Chicago Tribune at No. 25 of the top 50 high schools in Chicagoland.
CPS said it established a "safe passage" in the morning and afternoon outside the school at 250 E. 111th St., formerly Mendel Catholic High School.
"The safety of students is our top priority," CPS said. "Following the incidents, we are providing Safe Passage at arrival and dismissal times along key routes for Brooks students, and the school's administration has been stressing safety education to students and their families. In addition, we continue to work with CPD and other agencies on ensuring safety for Brooks students.
Brooks student Anetia Dickens, 16, said that a group of four or five males have been stealing from students in incidents that don't usually happen near Brooks.
The spate of robberies has left her feeling uneasy.
"I don't feel safe here," Dickens said. "Why is this happening out of the blue?"
Another student, Ariana Riley, 15, said that following the incidents, she makes sure she's in a big group when she leaves school.
Brooks parent Ann Collins,42, said she's always driven her freshman daughter to school, but the armed robbery has heightened her concerns.
Collins said there has always been a security presence around Brooks, but it seems as if the school "has heightened its security" since the robberies.
"It's a shame that they can't even come to school for an education without having to worry about safety," she said.
Staff at the high school didn't respond to requests for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (312) 747-3100.