A group of teens was seen pushing people into Lake Michigan near Navy Pier Thursday night.
The reports follow reported mayhem along beaches and Downtown streets last weekend as roving groups of teenagers caused trouble, forcing Chicago Police officers to try to corral their movements.
The group of about 10 teens was seen pushing people into the lake in the 600 block of North Lake Shore Drive, according to Chicago Police.
Downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said witnesses described the group of teens catching four different victims off-guard between the hours of 11 p.m. and midnight Thursday.
Police said no injuries were reported and no one was taken into custody.
The group “targeted people who were a little bit close to the water, ran up to them with no warning and shoved them into the lake while taunting them,” Hopkins said.
“It really sounded like some kind of a game. They were not robbing anyone. They were just doing it out of sheer meanness,” Hopkins said.
“No one reported any robbery or even an attempted robbery. Even the guy who got pushed off his bike got his bike back. They didn’t take his bike. Robbery was not the motive. What does that leave? That just leaves being vicious for the thrill of it.”
Given the high winds and strong waves, Hopkins said it was “fortunate” that all four victims “were able to swim and get out of the lake” without injury.
“It’s not a joke with the lake conditions the way they are right now. If someone who doesn’t know how to swim gets pushed in — especially between North Avenue and Ohio Street before you get to the beach — that’s six feet of water. A person can drown in there,” he said.
The harrowing incident underscores the need for police to pay more attention to the lakefront trail after hours, the alderman said.
When the beaches close, police have been “redeploying resources inland,” but that may not be enough “to prevent this sort of thing from happening,” he said.
“Especially now with the new trail, it’s more popular than ever to run or ride your bike at night. I think we need a stronger police presence to protect the runners and cyclists using the trail after hours,” Hopkins said.
“We’ve added bike patrols. We went from 35 to 70. The goal is to ramp up to 100 over the next two weeks. That’s going to help. They can cover more ground, and they can cover the trails. But we’re gonna have to pay special attention to that stretch of the lakefront if this continues to happen.”