Chicago police leaders activated the city’s anti-looting plan to protect the Central Business District on Friday evening after a series of incidents downtown and in outlying neighborhoods. The incidents cropped up hours after a jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges in Kenosha.
“This is not a drill,” a police dispatcher radioed as she instructed units from across the city to move into predesignated positions downtown.
A South Side alderman says looters struck her ward Friday evening and police confirm groups of men successfully raided a Mag Mile department store and tried to break into a Loop footwear shop around the same time. Also Friday evening, police say officers arrested at least two suspects and seized four guns from their stolen car as concertgoers arrived for a show at the Chicago Theatre.
“You can bet CPD stopped a mass shooting or extremely violent crime tonight,” recently-retired Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel tweeted a short time later. “Great work!”
Some looting going on
“Unfortunately, we have some looting going on in the ward,” Ald. Michelle Harris said in a Facebook post at 7:45 p.m. Friday. She even asked Jewel-Osco to close two stores in her South Side ward.
“I’ve asked the mayor’s office for additional Police resources and to send equipment from the Department of Water to help block entrances at the Jewel/Osco locations and we are grateful for city’s quick response to other location[s] around the ward,” Harris continued. “Please be careful and if you don’t need to go out stay inside tonight.”
A CPD spokesperson said the department’s media office was not officially notified of the incidents Harris wrote about.
Fox Chicago aired footage of a GameStop in Harris’ ward that had broken glass and merchandise scattered on the ground.
“Chicago police would not confirm that it was looting,” the outlet reported.
A series of incidents began unfolding in the downtown area as the city kicked off the holidays with its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Millennium Park.
At 6:44 p.m., a group of men jumped out of two or three vehicles and stole “large amounts of merchandise” from a store on the 700 block of North Michigan, according to a CPD media statement. Witnesses said the offenders targeted Neiman Marcus, 737 North Michigan. No arrests were made.
Just under an hour later, officers responding to calls of a man with a rifle near State and Lake in the Loop were struck by a stolen SUV that they tried to pull over, according to CPD reports. The vehicle’s occupants ran from the scene, but cops arrested them nearby, a police spokesperson said in a tweet that included a photo of four guns officers allegedly found in the SUV.
“We watched as officers reacted quickly and immediately took one person into custody,” ABC7 anchor Rob Elgas tweeted.
We watched as officers reacted quickly and immediately took one person into custody. Stunned about what police say they found in that vehicle. Wow. pic.twitter.com/GM1erpDCyt— Rob Elgas (@RobElgasABC7) November 20, 2021
Elgas shared a video, apparently recorded from the station’s offices at 190 North State, showing a crowd of people watching from under the Chicago Theatre’s marquee as cops arrest a man in the street.
“Stunned about what police say they found in that vehicle,” Elgas wrote. “Wow.”
Then, around 9:07 p.m., a group of men got out of a car and broke the front windows of Foot Locker, 26 South State, according to a CPD report. Police said they did not know if the men took anything from the store.