Video captures River North purse thief in action, police say

As Chicago thaws out from its months-long COVID-19 lockdown, the city’s legions of criminals are eagerly returning to work. Like the people who make a living by stealing bags and purses from unsuspecting restaurant customers.

Chicago police just released a video that shows who sly those thieves can be.

The footage, recorded around 8:15 p.m. on June 13, shows a man taking a handbag that someone left on the ground while they sat in a restaurant’s sidewalk dining area. Police said the incident took place on the 100 block of West Illinois, but the footage shows a sidewalk cafe on the 400 block of North Clark in front of Enolo Wine Cafe.

A man dressed in a blazer, jeans, and baseball cap walks past the cafe and looks like he’s going to cross the street. But the bag, wedged under the cafe’s wooden railing, catches his eye.

The apparent thief circles back and pretends to pay a parking meter while pulling the bag toward him with his left foot. He takes off his blazer and uses it to hide the bag as he picks it off the ground and walks away.

Detectives are trying to identify the man. Anyone with information about the suspect can call Detective Saud Haidari at 312-744-8263 about case JD263409.

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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