“Flyer boy” phone thieves are hitting downtown diners hard, cops say

Chicago police are once again warning people about “flyer boys” who steal phones from unsuspecting victims in restaurants and other locations downtown while posing as charity fundraisers.

The thief has hit at least seven times since March 11th, according to a new alert from Area Central investigators. His technique is simple: He approaches victims as they sit in restaurants or in a library with their phone on the table during afternoon hours. Opening the conversation with a request for a charitable donation, the man then places flyers or a newspaper on top of the victim’s phone while going through his charity pitch. When he’s done, he lifts up the victim’s phone along with the papers and leaves the building.

Police have identified seven recent cases linked to the suspect: on March 11th in the 100 block of South Wabash, the 300 block of South Wabash, and the 100 block of South Michigan; March 13th in the 100 block of South Michigan; March 21st in the 100 block of West Lake; and March 22nd in the 100 block of North Wabash and the 100 block of North State.

The suspect is described by police as a black male with a dark complexion who stands 5’10” to 6-feet tall.

Popular Scam

Another group of flyer boys pulled the same scam at an Old Town bar recently. A CWBChicago reader reported that a crew of “flyer boys” entered the bar on Wells Street on Saturday, March 9th, and began soliciting for their bucket boy “charity.” At least three phones were stolen from bar patrons within minutes, the man said. “No one knew until the manager made an announcement over the speakers.”

Ritzy Rip-Off

A CWBChicago reader’s recent experience at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel bar shows how easy it is to lose valuables while out on the town in the city.

The woman said she and friends were at the bar on a recent Saturday night when a ring of thieves stole her purse “within 15 minutes of sitting down.”

Surveillance video showed a male suspect working with two female accomplices who slipped the woman’s purse off of her seat, concealed it under a coat, and then left the bar, according to an account the woman was reportedly given by hotel security.

Good rule of thumb: If you have something valuable in public, sit on it.
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About CWBChicago 4275 Articles
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