4 arrested after fiery crash are charged with series of armed robberies — but top cop says they’re suspected of committing ‘dozens’ more

Police Supt. Brown said investigators believe the four suspects may be responsible for more than 50 recent armed robberies but did not specify why, explaining that “we’ve got to put together the cases to prove that these were the offenders.”

SHARE 4 arrested after fiery crash are charged with series of armed robberies — but top cop says they’re suspected of committing ‘dozens’ more
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Four men arrested after a police chase and a fiery crash in Ravenswood have been charged with a series of armed robberies, with Chicago’s top cop saying they are suspected of committing “dozens” of others that have garnered public attention over the last several weeks.

The men — ages 19 to 21 — were taken into custody following Monday’s crash and charged with four armed holdups earlier that day in Budlong Woods, North Center and Bucktown, Supt. David Brown told reporters.

The arrests came the same day that police issued a community alert about 50 armed robberies in several neighborhoods between last Wednesday and Saturday.

During a news conference Wednesday, Brown said investigators believe the four suspects may be responsible for all of them but did not specify why, explaining that “we’ve got to put together the cases to prove that these were the offenders.”

In the meantime, he urged a Cook County judge to deny the men bail, calling them “dangerous people.”

“Every moment that they’re going to be out of jail, whether on electronic monitoring or otherwise on bail or bond, they’ll be committing more robberies,” he said.

Hours later, Judge Susana Ortiz ordered two of the suspects — 20-year-old Marcus Carter and 21-year-old Machelo Hicks — held in custody without bail, saying they approached their victims like “an animal surrounds its prey.”

Their alleged accomplices, 19-year-old Dashun McGraw and 20-year-old Marquise Green, are expected in court Thursday.

McGraw, Green, Carter and Hicks all face felony counts of armed robbery with a firearm, aggravated robbery with a firearm and robbery, police said. Carter, Hicks and Green were also charged with felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon, and Carter and Hicks had outstanding warrants.

The first pair of Monday robberies happened between 3:15 a.m. and 3:18 a.m. in the 2400 block of West Berwyn Avenue and the 4300 block of North Leavitt Street, police said. The others were reported between 10:26 a.m. and 10:39 a.m. in the 2100 block of North Claremont Avenue and 4100 block of North Wolcott Avenue.

In each case, three of the suspects approached a person sitting in a car before pointing guns, demanding property and fleeing in a waiting car, prosecutors said during the bail hearing.

They were caught after crashing a stolen Hyundai that burst into flames in the 5100 block of North Oakley Avenue, police said. They ran off but were found hiding in a nearby garage where three guns and some of the stolen items were recovered, prosecutors said.

Although Brown connected the men to the larger rash of robberies, prosecutors made no mention of the other cases in court Wednesday.

Three of the four robberies Monday were caught on video, according to prosecutors. But the public defenders representing Carter and Hicks raised questions about the quality of the footage and what could actually be seen.

At his news conference, Brown had sidestepped a question about how the masked suspects were identified, acknowledging only that police were being “kind of bland about how we use technology” to catch suspects.

He said the suspects’ clothing and weapons played into the identifications, along with police and private video footage that was used in “a very aggressive surveillance plan.”

The public defenders also questioned photo lineups used to identify the suspects, with Hicks’ lawyer saying he hadn’t seen the one used to pin the crimes on his client.

“We don’t know how suggestive it was,” he said. “That simply isn’t enough to warrant the most serious condition a court could impose on anyone, which is the outright denial of bail.”

Neither Carter nor Hicks have previous violent arrests. Carter has three arrests for possession, according to court records while Hicks has three prior traffic arrests.

No one was physically harmed in the incidents and neither man was found with a gun, their lawyers said. Carter was described as a churchgoer who attends high school in Austin, while Hicks was said to work part-time for UPS.

Despite their lawyers’ appeals, Ortiz deemed the men a “danger to the community” and denied them bail.

“It is a crime spree, an unmitigated crime spree,” she said of the allegations. “Electronic monitoring can be tampered with. It can be walked away from, and there is nothing that this court can do.

“The court does not take lightly entering no bail orders for young men of this age with minimal criminal history, but what I have here is enough,” she said.

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