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Four robbed, attacked by mob of young men in Streeterville

Trovolus Pickett 17 charged connectiwith robbery incidents which occurred Streeterville areSaturday. | Chicago Police Dept. photo

Trovolus Pickett, 17, charged in connection with robbery incidents which occurred in the Streeterville area Saturday. | Chicago Police Dept. photo

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Updated: August 3, 2011 4:20PM

Four men were assaulted Saturday night within minutes of each other by large groups of youths in separate attacks in the Streeterville area, raising fears of flash mobs.

In the first case, a man was beaten about 8:25 p.m. when a group of 15 to 20 males approached him near Northwestern University’s Streeterville campus.

The man, who is not involved with Northwestern, had parked his motor scooter across from Wieboldt Hall in the 300 block of East Chicago, according to an alert from the university.

One suspect threw a baseball at his face and knocked him down, and several others hit him, the alert said. The victim “tried to protect himself and fought back,” the alert said.

The group fled east toward the lake, and Chicago Police later arrested and charged six males — ranging from ages 15-18 — believed to be part of the group, on mob action or felony robbery charges, according to officials.

The victim was treated by Chicago Fire Department paramedics.

He was unable to provide descriptions of his attackers, the alert said.

The second incident happened a few minutes later, law enforcement officials said. A man was knocked off his bicycle in the 700 block of North Lake Shore Drive and punched by a group of teens who stole his cellphone and camera, law enforcement officials said.

In two other incidents, two men — ages 68 and 42 — were robbed of iPod and other electric devices in the Streeterville area.

Rosalie Harris, who lives in the 600 block of N. Lake Shore Drive, said a lot of people in the Streeterville neighborhood walk their dogs late at night.

“We can’t be foolhardy. We have to be more cautious but we can’t live in fear,” Harris said. “It’s our community and we want to use it the way we always have.”

Three teens charged as adults in connection with the attacks are scheduled to appear in bond court Monday, according to a police News Affairs release.

Derodte Wright, 18, of the 3500 block of South State Street, was charged with one count of felony robbery; Dvonte Sykes, 17, of the 7500 block of South Normal, was charged with two counts of felony robbery and one count of misdemeanor mob action and Trovolus Pickett, 17, of the 8400 block of South Dorchester, was charged with three counts of felony robbery.

The attacks came less than a month after Chicago Police began implementing techniques to combat a flash mob phenomenon, which has become an increasing problem on Michigan Avenue. Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose ward includes the Mag Mile, said some of the shoplifting involves a “highly coordinated attempt by adult criminals to recruit juveniles” — especially young women. Officials are watching closely to see if any of the stolen items are ending up on eBay or at secondhand stores.

It’s also a problem in St. Louis, Las Vegas and Philadelphia where text-messaging “flash mobs” of youths have also been swooping into stores, stealing merchandise and running away.

--Sun-Times Media Wire, Sun-Times

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