Police warn of more auto thefts in West Loop

Approximate locations of auto thefts that detectives connected to the pattern. | Multiplottr

It sounds basic, but Chicago police are once again warning drivers to turn off their cars and take their keys with them when they’re out of the vehicle.

CPD detectives have issued a string of similar warnings following auto theft spikes in different parts of the city — thefts that very often involve food delivery drivers who leave their cars running while they step into restaurants to pick up orders or into residences to drop off meals.

The latest alert from police warns of an evening time auto theft pattern in the West Loop. While the bulletin does not specifically say that delivery drivers are being targeted in the latest wave, nearly all of the cars were stolen during dinner hours in an area that is home to dozens of popular eateries and high-end residences.

Police said at least seven unattended cars have been stolen in the West Loop since November 9 — usually after drivers left keys in the vehicles. Auto thefts connected to the pattern were reported in the:

  • 900 block of West Randolph at 8:25 p.m. November 9
  • 1000 block of West Lake at 5:15 p.m. November 13
  • 1000 block of West Washington at 7:30 p.m. November 14
  • 500 block of West Lake at 2:30 p.m. November 16
  • 200 block of North Peoria at 7:20 p.m. November 18
  • 800 block of West Fulton at 6:40 p.m. November 19
  • first block of North Racine at 5:30 p.m. November 22

A few weeks ago, police issued another auto theft alert for the West Loop after more than a dozen idling cars were stolen during September.

Reports of motor vehicle thefts in the city are up over 8% through mid-November compared to the same time last year, according to CPD records. Some cops point to a growing (and mistaken) trust of key fob technology for the rising number of cases.

A common misconception among drivers is that their vehicles can’t travel very far if they have their key fobs. So, they cheerily leave the car running with an expectation that – even if someone does try to take it – the vehicle won’t get very far since they have the starter.

Unfortunately, as dozens of YouTube videos demonstrate, that is not the case. One adventurous demonstrator even threw the car’s key fob out of the vehicle while driving.

Anyone with information about the auto thefts can call detectives at 312-744-8263.

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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