Video shows Uptown smoke shop owner foiling apparent shoplifting raid

The owner of an Uptown smoke shop thinks he foiled an attempted shoplifting raid on his store Friday evening, and the video he shared with CWBChicago sure looks like he’s right.

Unfortunately, another smoke shop near the Belmont Red Line was not as lucky this weekend. They lost an estimated $5,000 to a shoplifting raid around 3 p.m. Saturday, according to a CPD report.

But let’s focus on the good news from Uptown.

Abdul Bari was running his store, 7 Heaven Smoke Shop at 4077 North Broadway, around 7:30 Friday when four men tried to walk in the front door.

Surveillance video shows they climbed out of a white Jeep about a half-block down and then walked to his store.

“Fortunately, my door was locked, and I allowed only one guy inside and stopped other guys,” Bari said Saturday.

As Bari was handling the door, the one guy he allowed inside removed a duffel bag from under his coat and opened it wide, apparently preparing to make an extremely large purchase. Or worse. Watch:

Just as the lonely shopper finished opening the duffel, he realized that Bari hadn’t allowed his companions into the store. So he hid the bag behind his back and waddled over to Bari.

“He tried to push me and tried to open the door and let other guys in,” Bari recalled.

His surveillance video shows another man made it into the store with the first shopper, but the two decided to run out and jump into the Jeep, which pulled up at just the right time.

“I went out, started shouting for help, and seeing this, they all got in the Jeep and fled the scene.”

We asked Bari if he wanted to share the video. He didn’t hesitate.

“Please share it,” he said. “Let the police and public find out.”

He told us the experience “feels really bad, but from downtown to Rogers Park, it’s the same situation. Some share it and some don’t because they are afraid these criminals might target them again.”

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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