Just two days after a shoplifting crew pepper-sprayed the staff of a Lincoln Park clothing store, another retail theft team struck the same location. This time, the thieves brought a gun.
Mob shoplifting incidents are now regular events for retailers in the city’s prime shopping districts, with some locations being hit again and again. Some stores have been hit more than once on the same day.
Now, some of the theft teams are becoming more aggressive.
At 6:30 p.m., Monday, a group of young men stole loads of merchandise from Forever 21, 865 West North Avenue, according to a police spokesperson and a CPD report.
Store employees locked the front doors after the offenders left, but the men returned a few minutes later. One of the thieves pulled out a handgun and tapped on the store window with the butt of the weapon. The men then fled the scene. No one is in custody.
An all-female shoplifting crew struck the same Forever 21 on Saturday afternoon. They pepper-sprayed three of the store’s employees who tried to detain them for shoplifting.
About 45 minutes before the store’s employees were sprayed, another shoplifting crew pepper-sprayed employees as they stole from the H&M store at 840 North Michigan.
That H&M location was also struck again on Monday. Police said a three-man shoplifting team entered the store shortly before noon and filled “giant garbage bags” with merchandise. They then ran from the store with the goods. Workers said the men have struck the store repeatedly.
Among downtown retailers who reported shoplifting team incidents on Tuesday are the UGG store at 545 North Michigan and DSW at 1101 South Canal.
Reports of shoplifting in Chicago have risen over 25% in recent years following policy changes under Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Some retailers are blaming Foxx’s changes for the increase in thefts.