LAKEVIEW — A man from the Near North Side has been charged with robbing an off-duty police officer in Lakeview earlier this month.
Kendall Hammond, 18, was arrested Sept. 6 in the 1400 block of North Halsted Street. He was arrested while driving a stolen vehicle near his home, Town Hall District Officer Tom Walsh said.
Hammond faces four felony charges of armed robbery and one count each of disarming an officer, aggravated assault of an officer, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle. He is also charged with misdemeanor credit card fraud.
Police said Hammond robbed the 35-year-old officer in the 3100 block of North Ravenswood Avenue at 9:35 p.m. Sept. 3.
The man was walking with a 29-year-old woman when a group of youths between ages 16 and 20 jumped out of an SUV and pointed guns at them. After demanding the couple surrender their belongings, the group drove away, police said.
The robbers took the officer's badge and handgun, Walsh said. The gun was found in the vehicle when Hammond was arrested Sept. 6, while the badge was recovered soon after the robbery, police said.
Hammond was previously arrested July 20 on a charge of criminal trespass to vehicles, according to police arrest records. He was released the same day on his own recognizance.
The anonymously run blog Crime in Wrigleyville + Boystown reported Hammond is being held without bond in the armed robbery case. He told police he was involved in another robbery and stole a vehicle before coming across the off-duty officer, the blog reported.
Walsh said police are investigating whether Hammond was involved in additional robberies.
As of late August, robberies have increased 60 percent compared to 2015, which saw the lowest number of robberies in more than a decade, according to police data.
The number of burglaries has also skyrocketed in the past year, while major crimes could increase by almost 12 percent by the end of 2016.
The spike in crime comes as Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) continues to push for additional officers in Lakeview.
Over the past months, the surge in manpower has slowed, remaining steady at 374 sworn officers in July and August before dropping to 369 in September.
The increase of 36 officers since the start of 2016 remains seven short of the promised net increase of 43 officers with just over three months left in the year.
Tunney attributed the drop to transfers and retirements. During a West Lake View Neighbors meeting Monday, he promised "additional initiatives" in the district's entertainment hot spots would be announced "in the very near future."
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