Theft crew raids 4 downtown convenience stores in 2 hours

Approximate locations of Saturday’s incidents.

A three-man theft crew stole large amounts of booze and cigarettes from three downtown convenience stores Saturday evening. And, after cops briefly chased them through River North, the team made one more stop in the West Loop to do it again.

In each incident, two or three of the men barged into 7-Eleven stores, collected smokes and booze from behind the counters, loaded the merch into a dark-colored 2003 Ford Expedition, and sped away.

They first targeted 7-Eleven’s store at 201 East Ohio in Streeterville around 8:45 p.m.

Minutes later, they did it again at 645 North Kingsbury in River North.

At 10:30 they struck the store at 177 North Wells in the Loop.

Cops spotted the Expedition crossing the Chicago River a few minutes after that heist. Officers pulled the SUV over in River North and approached the vehicle with guns drawn. But the driver sped away again.

He stopped for a few minutes in the West Loop so the crew could raid one more store at 627 West Jackson, according to a CPD report.

Officers who pulled the SUV over in River North said the driver is a Black male who’s over 50-years-old. He wore a dark stocking cap with a dark coat, an officer said.

CWB reported in September that convenience store robberies, which have traditionally netted only small amounts of money, were skyrocketing in Chicago as criminals turned their attention to the stores’ high-priced tobacco and liquor inventory.

Robberies of convenience stores soared 75% in Chicago last year compared to 2019, according to CPD records.

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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