Watch: Pro auto burglars score $5K in seconds from car in Fulton River District

It takes him just eight seconds to pry out her passenger side window. A couple more seconds to grab bags containing at least $5,000 worth of property from her front seat. And less than 30 seconds total.

Thousands of cars are burglarized in Chicago every year. But video of a brazen auto break-in over the weekend shows the precision, speed, and (it seems) planning of professional break-in artists.

“It was definitely an organized crew,” the victim’s girlfriend told us Saturday. He asked us to withhold his name.

“There’s no way it was random. Someone had to follow her or signaled that there were bags in the car,” he said. “You can tell from that video it’s not the first time he did it.”


The woman drove to the Fulton River District on Saturday afternoon to drop off a clothing donation at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, 509 North Union.

When she returned to the car five minutes later, her window was on the ground, and a purse, laptop, iPad, business inventory, and other valuables were gone. The loss? “At least $5,000,” her boyfriend says.

But how did the offenders know that there were valuables in her car? That’s a bit of a mystery.

Video from a nearby surveillance camera shows two men sitting in a black SUV on Union and another man apparently feeding a parking meter directly in front of the woman’s car.

When the man walks away from the meter, the SUV goes down the street, pulls a U-turn, and stops directly behind the woman’s car.

The passenger gets out and doesn’t even take time to look inside the car before he pries out her passenger window. He obviously knew there were goodies in her car before he even walked up to it.

Her boyfriend marveled at the man’s “quickness and ability to break it that fast.”

Last year, CPD recorded 13 crimes on the 500 block of North Union. Ten of them were thefts from vehicles or on the street.

The boyfriend filed a police report online because Chicago doesn’t dispatch police for auto break-ins.

“I thought having it on video, they would wanna see if it’s anyone they’re looking for,” he said Sunday. “Apparently not. Oh well, lesson learned.”

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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