While reporting on a string of robberies that affected the West Town neighborhood in Chicago, a TV news crew was robbed at gunpoint by the very people they were trying to report on.
At around 5 a.m. on Monday, a Univision Chicago reporter and photographer were robbed at gunpoint by three men in ski masks. According to the Spanish language network, the robbers mostly took personal items — as well as the camera.
“We don’t want to make the story about us, because there were other robberies that occurred within that same period,” Luis Godinez, the vice president of news at Univision Chicago, wrote in a statement.
The robbers drove up to the news crew in a grey sedan and black SUV — approaching them and demanding money from the reporter and photographer before ransacking their SUV and taking their camera, a backpack and two bags of equipment. After stealing the items, the thieves fled the scene in their vehicles.
At the time of the robbery, the news crew was working on a story about a string of robberies in the West Town neighborhood.
At least 30 armed robberies in 12 hours on Sunday and Chicago Mayor Johnson just shrugs it off with no comment. Is that what Chicagoans worried about violent crime elected him to do? #peoplesreporter pic.twitter.com/LhRcNgxGgt
— Reporter William J. Kelly #thatreporter (@Williamjkelly) August 28, 2023
However, they were unable to publish any of the footage they captured — as their camera was stolen. Police have not arrested any suspects in the robbery as of Tuesday, and no one was injured during the incident.
“They’re OK,” Godinez noted in his statement in reference to his employees, adding, “we’re working on it together as a team.”
This is not the first time a journalist was the victim of a crime in the West Town neighborhood. While preparing to film an afternoon update for WLS-TV, another Chicago journalist was attacked and robbed in the same neighborhood. That incident prompted Raza Siddiqui, president of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians Local 41, to release a statement warning about the threats that reporters and photographers face on the street.
“Our news photographers and reporters provide a very important public service in keeping our community informed,” Siddiqui wrote, 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.”