Girl, 15, among two charged with assaulting CTA Red Line TV show host
CHICAGO – Three minors face charges on Tuesday in connection with a series of recent robberies on the CTA.
Two of them – a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy – have been charged with stealing a local actor’s phone on a CTA Red Line train and knocking him unconscious, police said.
Will Clinger, who hosts ‘Wild Travels’ on PBS, was on his way to meet a friend and when a woman snatched his phone from him as the train stopped at Addison Street station near Wrigley Field and fled through the door.
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“It was a complete surprise when I suddenly found someone snatching my phone from my hands and leaving the car,” Clinger told the Chicago Tribune. “I probably mistakenly ran out the door after them, chasing them to try and get my phone back. And the last thing I remember is falling, and I don’t even remember landing.”
One punched the man in the face, knocking him down and banging his head against the wall, officials said.
The fall caused a brain hemorrhage, a contusion, four stitches in the forehead and a swollen hand.
The teens were arrested in the 5100 block of South Wentworth Avenue on Monday, police said.
The 15-year-old was also charged with robbing a 74-year-old man on March 21 at the Fullerton Red Line station in Lincoln Park. She also allegedly robbed a 28-year-old woman on April 25 near the Thorndale Red Line stop in Edgewater, police said.
A 15-year-old boy is facing two robbery charges. The first robbery was a 33-year-old man on April 13 at Harrison Red Line station in the South Loop, police said. The boy was also charged with robbing a woman on the same day in the 1800 block of West Howard Street.
The 17-year-old was also charged in the two April 13 robberies.
Chicago politicians and officials have expressed concern over an increase in crime on the CTA, with mayoral challenger Willie Wilson calling on the city to do more.
“You [used to have] people coming from the suburbs on CTA,” Wilson said Monday. “Now they don’t do it because they are afraid of crime. … A lot of people don’t come to Chicago anymore. They don’t even come for visits. I have people from the suburbs who are afraid to come. People are scared. Look at how many tax dollars you’re wasting just because of people not coming to Chicago and going somewhere else to shop. You’re defeating yourself there.”
Two months ago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Superintendent of Police. David Brown and CTA Chairman Dorval Carter Jr. unveiled plan to ‘more than double resources’ for unarmed private security guards and ‘strategically adjust resources’ for Office of Counterterrorism of the Chicago Police Department to better address changes in crime patterns “on public transit.
Brown said that day the additional officers would be split into teams focusing on gang and drug-related crimes in response to complaints from “CTA clients that they see drug trafficking” and “associated conflicts.” to gangs”.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.