The thieves’ next target was a television news crew reporting on a spree of robberies in Chicago on Monday morning.
Three guys in ski masks robbed a Univision Chicago reporter and photographer at gunpoint around 5 a.m. Monday in the city’s West Town neighborhood, according to the Chicago Tribune. According to the Spanish language network, the burglars largely seized personal things as well as a camera.
“We don’t want to make the story about us, because there were other robberies that occurred within that same period,” said Luis Godinez, the vice president of news at Univision Chicago.
According to Raza Siddiqui, president of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians Local 41, the thieves approached them after driving up in a gray sedan and a black SUV and demanded money from the journalists before going through their SUV and taking the camera, a backpack, and two bags of equipment.
After snatching the things, the suspects escaped in their vehicles. The victims were identified as a 28-year-old guy and a 42-year-old man by police.
The journalists were working on a piece about a wave of thefts in the West Town neighborhood, but the film they obtained Monday morning was never shown since it was taken on a stolen camera, according to Godinez. No one was hurt during the heist, and no one has been arrested as a result of the act.
“They’re OK,” Godinez said of his employees, adding, “We’re working on it together as a team.”
Another Chicago journalist was assaulted and robbed earlier this month in the West Town area while preparing to report on an afternoon update for WLS-TV. Following the assault and robbery, union president Siddiqui issued a public warning about the dangers that reporters and photographers confront on the streets.
“Our news photographers and reporters provide a very important public service in keeping our community informed,” Siddiqui said, according to the Tribune. “We are committed to making sure that their safety comes first. We have talked to the photographer who was robbed today and he is thankfully safe and in good spirits.”
Chicago observed an increase in crime shortly after its new mayor, Brandon Johnson, was elected in May. According to The Washington Examiner, vehicle thefts increased 153% in June, aggravated battery increased 17%, and burglary increased 12%. Johnson is focusing his efforts on combating the growth in vehicle theft by suing auto producers Kia and Hyundai, claiming that their vehicles lack adequate anti-theft systems, according to Fox 32.
“The impact of car theft on Chicago residents can be deeply destabilizing, particularly for low- to middle-income workers who have fewer options for getting to work and taking care of their families,” Johnson said. “The failure of Kia and Hyundai to install basic auto-theft prevention technology in these models is sheer negligence, and as a result, a citywide and nationwide crime spree around automobile theft has been unfolding right before our eyes.”