River North: Thief steals woman’s car — and her kids — outside Portillo’s

The car was left running outside Portillo’s at Clark and Ontario. | Google

A car thief got more than he bargained for when he stole an idling car from in front of a popular River North fast food restaurant on Saturday afternoon. He got the car, of course. And he also got two children who were in the back seat. The kids are okay, but the thief remains at large.

This surveillance image shows the man fleeing the area. | Provided

Police said a 29-year-old woman left her car running outside a “food establishment” in the 100 block of West Ontario while she went inside around 3:50 p.m. When she came back out, her car and her kids were gone. Multiple sources identified the restaurant as Portillo’s.

Officers searched the area and found the woman’s gray Nissan Maxima abandoned under the L tracks at 641 North Franklin shortly after 4 p.m. The children, ages 3-weeks and 7-years, were examined by an ambulance crew as a precaution. No medical attention was needed, a police spokesperson said.

Investigators learned that video of the auto theft was captured by security cameras at the former Rock and Roll McDonald’s at 600 North Clark. Footage showed the thief enter the passenger side of the woman’s car, climb into the driver’s seat, and drive away westbound on Ontario, an officer said.

The thief was described as a black male who wore yellow shoes, acid wash jeans, and a black hoodie that has a white graphic design on the front.

CPD camera footage showed the man running north on Franklin after he dumped the car. Another camera recorded him running northwest through a parking lot at Erie and Orleans moments later.

Area Central detectives are investigating.

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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