‘We need help.’ Bucktown pub owner held at gunpoint, first of 9 armed robberies in an hour on North, Northwest sides

Eric Johnson’s pub in Bucktown had already been hit by robbers three times in the last several weeks when a car pulled up early Sunday and four people with guns jumped out.

“It happened so fast,” said Johnson, who owns Burke’s Web Pub at 2026 W. Webster Ave. “They pulled over and all four of them got out and pointed their guns at us. I stood up and told them, ‘Take everything, just keep me safe.’”

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Johnson, 41, was the first in a string of nine armed robberies that happened over an hour within blocks of each other on the North and Northwest sides, apparently by the same crew, according to police.

Johnson said he was sitting outside with his manager when the robbers hit. “There were no words,” he said. “Neither of us have ever been so scared. They could have ended our life.”

In each of the Sunday attacks, people were approached by four robbers who got out of a car, police said in a community alert. The other robberies happened at:

  • 1200 block of North Damen Avenue
  • 2700 block of North Milwaukee Avenue
  • 2200 block of West Webster Avenue
  • 2600 block of North Kedzie Avenue
  • 2900 block of West Armitage Avenue
  • 3000 block of North Kimball Avenue
  • 3200 block of North Elston Avenue
  • 3100 block of North California Avenue

Police have reported no arrests.

Johnson said someone broke into his bar three different times within 15 days last month and took “a life-altering amount of money.”

Johnson planned to attend a community policing meeting Wednesday night to ask Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) for more protection in their community. 

“I don’t feel safe. We need help,” Johnson said. “I’m taking the video footage to the meeting to show the effect it has taken on my life.”


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