7 arrests as shoplifting mobs hits Lakeview store again and again and again

A Chicago police unit at DSW following the April 17th flash mob. | Mark Weyermuller

Shoplifting mobs have been slamming one Lakeview retailer over and over again for the past month, collecting piles of merchandise and leaving store managers frustrated.

Police detain a man after the May 22nd mob. | Provided

The thieving “flash mobs” have struck DSW at 3131 North Clark at least five times since mid-April. Two incidents unfolded this week alone, resulting in seven arrests, according to Chicago police.

On April 17th, ten men and women in their late teens or early 20’s ran out with at least 25 pairs of shoes, the store reported. No arrests were made.

On May 14th, the store reported that at least seven teenagers were running out the door with stacks of merchandise. Again, the entire group escaped.

Time after time, police said, the theft crews ran from the store and entered the Belmont Red Line station via an “exit only” staircase on nearby Fletcher Street. This week, cops knew what to expect.

Tuesday night, two 18-year-old men and a 16-year-old female juvenile were arrested after the store reported five people running from the store with duffle bags full of stolen shoes. Police, aware of what to expect, swung into action and arrested the trio at the Belmont Red Line station. Even when the girl managed to slip out of the Red Line station, an officer who was monitoring a police camera above the intersection of Belmont and Sheffield was able to tell cops on the scene that she was hiding inside the Slice of Cheesie’s restaurant.

Police escort a suspect after the May 19 incident. | Provided

The scene was even crazier Sunday night as police responded to a still-larger group of thieves. Officers managed to round up four offenders, the department said: a 17-year-old male juvenile; an 18-year-old woman; and two men, ages 20 and 21. Stunned drivers and residents, unaware of what was going on, called 911 to report people running through the middle of Belmont Avenue and local side streets.

Whether or not the arrests will curb the pilfering packs of people remains to be seen.

“I hope they’re scared away,” a DSW worker said. “What are we supposed to do?”

CWBChicago will post an update with the alleged shoplifters’ mugshots and backgrounds this weekend.

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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