Teenage auto thieves targeting food delivery drivers in Lakeview

Approximate locations of eight of the reported auto theft cases.

A group of young auto thieves has stolen at least nine cars since April 21 in Lakeview. Police said eight of the thefts took place within a block of the intersection of Clark and Belmont streets.

The thieves, who are said to be just 12- to 16-years-old, appear to be taking advantage of food delivery drivers who often leave cars running while they make pick-ups and deliveries, according to several police reports reviewed by CWBChicago. All but one of the thefts took place during evening hours when dinner deliveries spike, according to police records

Four cars were stolen on the 900 block of West Belmont alone. That block, which includes the Belmont CTA station, is home to a long list of restaurants that are relying on delivery services to generate business during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Police said cars were taken on the block at 7:50 p.m. on April 27; at 5:32 p.m. and again at 10 p.m. on April 30; and at 3:35 p.m. on May 2.

Other thefts were reported in the immediate area on the 3300 block of North Clark at 6:30 p.m. April 21; the 3200 block of North Clark at 6:45 p.m. April 24; the 800 block of West Belmont at 5:21 p.m. on April 28; and on the 3100 block of North Clark at 10 p.m. on April 30.

A ninth car was taken about a half-mile away in the 3600 block of North Clark at 9:10 p.m. on April 25, police said in a community alert.

The bulletin from Area 3 detectives described the thieves only as black males between 12- and 16-years-old. Anyone with information about the thefts can contact detectives at 312-744-8263 regarding pattern P20-3-094.

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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