“Flyer Boys” Strike Again: Driver Says Thieves Opened Her Car Door, Stole Her Phone On Michigan Avenue

Chicago police have repeatedly warned drivers to keep their doors and windows locked while in downtown traffic.

Two offenders are in custody after they opened a motorist’s car doors in downtown traffic and stole the woman’s phone on Sunday afternoon, police said. Charges are pending.

The latest incident was reported just one month after police issued a warning for downtown drivers to keep their doors locked and to avoid interacting with people who walk in the traffic lanes. Theft from vehicles in downtown traffic lanes often involve “flyer boys” who pretend to be soliciting for charities.

Around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, a woman was stopped at a traffic light in the 100 block of North Michigan Avenue when two men opened her car doors and asked her for money. While the doors were open, the offenders took the woman’s phone from inside the car and ran away.

Police officers, suspecting that the two men were up to no good, chased the men and eventually took them into custody in the 100 block of West Lower Wacker Drive, according to a police spokesman.

The Chicago Police Department issued a community alert on June 6th that warned drivers about a series of thefts and robberies in the downtown area that have involved so-called “flyer boys.” They are the men who wander in traffic and on sidewalks with handbills that solicit for often bogus charitable donations.

Police listed six cases in the June warning that involved men who distracted drivers or tried to open car doors to commit thefts and robberies. The offenders take cellphones—often from window mounts—and other electronics such as GPS devices.

All of the incidents listed in the police alert were reported during afternoon or evening hours, and many were on or near Michigan Avenue.

Not A Coincidence

Shortly after police issued last month’s community alert, six “flyer boys” were arrested in the downtown area for illegal charitable solicitation. A review of the arrestee’s criminal records by CWBChicago editors found that five of the six men have served prison time for robbery. The men had been arrested an average of 48 times.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com