A group of young auto thieves, possibly as young as 12-years-old, stole cars in Lakeview and River North this morning before police caught up with them two hours later. Both stolen cars were left running and unattended by their owners, according to police.
Around 8:20 a.m., a 32-year-old man called police after a boy got out of a white Lexus and stole his white Nissan sedan from outside an apartment building on the 300 block of North Clark, a CPD spokesperson said.
Then, just before 9 a.m., a white Lexus and a white Nissan pulled up outside Stan’s Donuts, 3302 North Broadway, in Boystown. A 26-year-old man watched from inside the donut shop as at least one boy jumped into his idling gold Jeep Cherokee and sped away. The Nissan and Lexus also fled the area.
Minutes later, witnesses reported seeing a group of boys fighting in the street at the intersection of Barry and Kenmore after getting out of a white Nissan. The juveniles were gone by the time police arrived.
But the boys came to the end of the road two hours later.
A witness called 911 shortly before 11 a.m. to report that a boy was driving a white Nissan near Wabash and Grand in River North. Two other boys were riding as passengers, the caller said.
Officers found the stolen Nissan abandoned minutes later near the intersection of Dearborn and Huron. Witnesses told cops that three young boys got out of the car and ran southbound on Dearborn.
Working on a hunch, police raced to the Chicago Red Line station where they found the boys riding a northbound train. Witnesses confirmed the boys were the same ones who ran from the Nissan.
No charges were filed as of 5 p.m. Monday, according to a CPD spokesperson.
This morning’s thefts are the latest in a string of auto thefts across the downtown area and Lakeview that have involved young offenders who steal idling vehicles.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday, a delivery driver’s car was stolen from the 1500 block of North Sandberg Terrace after he left it running while he went inside.
At 9:10 p.m. Saturday, a silver Nissan Rogue was stolen as it idled outside Chipotle, 1025 West Belmont.
Last Thursday, three boys got out of a car and jumped into a Nissan Rogue that a woman left running while she picked up food from a restaurant at State and Lake.
Another idling car was stolen from the intersection of Halsted and Belmont when its owner left it idling outside a restaurant around 10 p.m. last Wednesday. Once again, three young offenders jumped into the car and drove away.
Chicago police have issued two community alerts this month to warn about widespread theft of idling cars in Lakeview and the downtown area. Many of the thefts involve cars used by food delivery drivers who leave their vehicles unattended while they pick up and deliver orders, according to CPD reports.
Police last week warned that idling cars are also being stolen in the Loop and River North. The downtown pattern involves at least six thefts between April 15 and May 8.