Watches worth $2 million taken in downtown smash-and-grab as retail raiders strike again and again

This story was supposed to be about how shoplifting raiders stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from the North Face store on Michigan Avenue two days in a row.

Not any more.

Chicago police are investigating after a smash-and-grab team stole an estimated $2 million worth of wristwatches from a luxury car dealership near the Mag Mile on Saturday afternoon. Less than an hour earlier, at least six thieves mobbed an Oak Street retailer and escaped with over $20,000 worth of coats.

And it all happened as the Chicago Police Department supposedly had a special plan and extra resources in the area to make sure the downtown retail strips “remained safe.”

Shortly after noon on Saturday, two men entered the Bentley, Lamborghini, and Rolls-Royce dealership at 834 North Rush Street. One of the men used a hammer to smash a display case containing extremely expensive watches.

How expensive? According to initial information, the timepieces are Richard Mille brand — watches advertised as “a racing machine on the wrist.” They retail for hundreds and hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars. Each.

The thieves, described as two Black males wearing black clothing, reportedly snagged several of them from the car dealer’s display and then escaped in a vehicle that was waiting on nearby Delaware Place.

Earlier on Saturday, a group of between six and nine men wearing ski masks stormed Moose Knuckles, 54 East Walton, and escaped with over $20,000 worth of high-end winter coats. One of the offenders punched an employee on the way out. The crew escaped in a black Dodge Charger and a silver Dodge Durango, both of which are stolen.

On Friday afternoon, two men snagged more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from Nike, 669 North Michigan. The heist seems almost quaint compared to other thefts in the area.

Later, around 5:30 p.m., two offenders stole about $3,000 worth of coats from North Face, 875 North Michigan. The same store lost about $10,000 in products to a two-man theft team on Thursday afternoon, according to a CPD statement.

The North Face thieves used the same gray 2004 Honda Accord on both days. On Thursday, the suspects were described as two Black men in their 20s, one of whom wore a Rugrats letterman-style jacket and another who wore a cream-colored hoodie.

Our exclusive and original reporting is 100% reader-funded. Please make a contribution to our operating fund or purchase a subscription today.

About CWBChicago 6795 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