Concealed carry holder foiled organized tobacco thieves at River North Walgreens — but they are still raiding stores

Two men who have stolen large volumes of cigarettes from Walgreens stores across the North Side had a little scare when they targeted one of the chain’s River North stores on October 14: They came face to face with a concealed carry holder who sent them running.

CWBChicago first told you about the thieves one month ago.

But, according to a new community alert from Chicago police, the thieves have struck several more times since then — including two thefts within hours of being confronted by the licensed gun carrier.

Police went to the Walgreens at 641 North Clark in River North around 8:30 p.m. on October 14 after two men hopped the front counter, confronted a manager, and began collecting cigarettes. But a concealed carry holder interrupted the theft, and the duo ran away.

But they must not have been too scared. According to a CPD report, they struck again 30 minutes later at Walgreens’ 834 West Armitage location in Lincoln Park. Once again, they forced their way over the counter and stole tobacco products.

Then, they targeted two more stores in Logan Square within 30 minutes: at 2440 West North Avenue and 3110 West Armitage. CPD records show the men hit a Walgreens at 4343 North Central in Portage Park earlier in the day.

Yesterday, Chicago police issued a community alert to warn stores in Jefferson Park and Albany Park about two men who have repeatedly gone behind the front counters of retail stores to steal “large amounts of cigarettes” in plastic bags.

On Friday, police issued yet another community alert about the thieves, who are also responsible for stealing piles of tobacco products from Walgreens stores at 3222 North Milwaukee at 8:47 p.m. October 19; 5935 West Addison at 9:55 p.m. October 19; and 4343 North Kedzie at 3:24 p.m. on October 20.

The alert included two descriptions of the suspects:

  • male, Black, 30- to 35-years-old 5’8″ and 240 to 250 pounds
  • male, Black, 25- to 30-years-old, 5’6″ and 145-155 pounds

Police said they travel in a black Kia Forte with Illinois plate CK25150 and a red 2020 Volkswagen with Illinois plate CT19814.

Anyone with information about the men can contact Area Five detectives at 312-746-7394.

Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer said this week that the chain may remove tobacco products from its stores because they may not “project a health-for-you profile.”

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About CWBChicago 6030 Articles
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