Shoplifting crews raided at least two more stores along the Magnificent Mile on Thursday. And, CWBChicago has learned, overnight burglars are continuing to target retailers downtown and on the Clybourn retail corridor — at least once while cops who are supposed to scare them away are parked just yards away.
Just before noon yesterday, between 10 and 14 shoplifters walked through the Superior Street entrance to Neiman Marcus, 737 North Michigan, and made their way to the luxury brand Fendi’s sales area.
They broke a case and stole nearly every handbag that was on display, according to a source.
“The only thing left was the scarves,” the source said.
A 16-year-old boy was caught and held until police arrived. All of the others escaped in a three-car caravan that sped from the scene, according to a CPD report.
The boy is charged with felony retail theft, according to a CPD media release.
Later, around 7 p.m., a couple of determined thieves entered the North Face store, 875 North Michigan, and walked out with an estimated $10,000 worth of merchandise, another CPD report said. They escaped in an Infiniti SUV that was waiting outside.
Earlier this week, a mob raided the Burberry flagship store at 633 North Michigan. Raiders who targeted two Ulta Beauty locations last weekend reportedly got away with more than $13,000 in merchandise. Two arrests were made.
Retailers who aren’t raided by day might find themselves raided by night. While CPD has drawn patrol cars from districts across the city to babysit retail corridors after two recent burglary sprees, break-ins continue to be a problem.
Shortly after 2 a.m. today, two ski-masked men broke into GameStop, 2506 West North Avenue.
Then, around 6 a.m., burglars broke into Divinity 7, an apparel store at 1146 South Delano Court in the South Loop’s Roosevelt Collection retail strip. They reportedly loaded the cash registers and boxes into a minivan and drove away.
On Thursday, someone threw a kettlebell through the front glass of Hustler Hollywood, 1815 North Clybourn, and helped themselves to the merchandise around 4:18 a.m. A police supervisor was stunned to hear such a thing had happened. He radioed to find out where the patrol car assigned to the intersection of North and Clybourn was.
It turns out the patrol car was a couple of hundred yards away — at North and Halsted — as the break-in went down.
Less than an hour later, burglars made their way into Galleria Liquors, a specialty spirits retailer at 1559 North Wells in Old Town.
Top police leaders activated the city’s anti-looting response for the first time on November 19 after a group of thieves raided the Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue and tried to break into a Loop Foot Locker store a short time later.
The theft crews had greater success early on November 26 when they successfully stormed a Foot Locker, North Face, and at least two other stores in Wicker Park and West Town. Canada Goose’s flagship store on the Magnificent Mile was also compromised.
Investigators suspect the same organized group may be responsible for all of the break-ins because CPD license plate readers detected a Jeep Cherokee that was seen at the Wicker Park crimes in the downtown area around the time of the Canada Goose burglary, a source said.
And the thieves may have had bigger plans. Shortly after 3 a.m. last Friday, someone fired over a dozen rounds near Maple and Dearborn streets in the Gold Coast. No injuries were reported, and some CPD investigators suspect the gunfire was an attempt by the break-in crews to lure cops away from the Mag Mile and other target-rich retailers.
Coincidentally – or perhaps not – witnesses reported that the shots were fired from a Jeep.