An armed security guard foiled a smash-and-grab robbery attempt at a Magnificent Mile jewelry store on Tuesday afternoon, according to a CPD report. Later, another organized theft team hit a retailer on nearby Oak Street and, CWB has learned, one Mag Mile store has been hit by shoplifting crews twice this week.
Around 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, three men stepped out of a white sedan and entered a retail store on the 900 block of North Michigan, said Kellie Bartoli, a CPD spokesperson. The store is Marshall Pierce & Company, a high-end jewelry store, according to a police report.
Bartoli said the ski mask-wearing crew made its way to a watch case and one of the offenders pulled a hammer out of his jacket. But an armed guard inside the store intervened and ordered the group to get on the ground, she continued. They didn’t listen to him.
Instead, they bolted for the store’s revolving door and escaped in the car that was waiting outside with a fourth person driving, according to Bartoli.
They dropped a hammer on the sidewalk outside the store, and police recovered it as evidence.
Bartoli said the group consisted of slim Black males between 18- and 28-years-old who stand 5’10” to 6-feet tall. She said one wore a black hoodie, and another wore a white jacket with fur on its hood.
Investigators are trying to determine if the same group is responsible for a shoplifting raid at Canada Goose, 800 North Michigan, around 1:30 p.m. last Thursday. The thieves escaped with a collection of coats in a white Infiniti that resembled the car used in the jewelry store incident.
Suburbs to city
At 3:20 p.m. Monday, a white Ford Edge that investigators have linked to several smash-and-grab incidents at suburban retailers rolled up to the 100 block of East Oak, just off the Mag Mile.
A group of men exited the SUV and entered a nearby store where they headed for the handbag section. They then returned to the Ford with at least one handbag, but total losses were not yet confirmed Wednesday evening.
About 20 minutes later, an off-duty police officer reported that the same car pulled up to Bottega Veneta, a high-end leather goods store at 800 North Michigan that has been targeted repeatedly by retail theft teams. The group did not enter the store Tuesday.
CWB reported last month that a shoplifting mob injured an off-duty officer who was working at Bottega Veneta on January 22.
A group of men took about $2,000 worth of merchandise during a flashmob theft at Ralph Lauren, 750 North Michigan, according to a CPD report. It was the second time that theft teams hit the store in two days, an officer said.
Arrests made, crimes continue
CPD’s newly-formed organized retail theft task force has solved several high-profile cases from the Mag Mile, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and Wicker Park. But, theft crews continued to ply their trade. Among recent arrests attributed to the task force:
Carlos Valliant, 38, is charged with acting as a lookout while another man used a hammer to smash a display case and steal $862,500 worth of designer watches from Gold Coast Exotic Motor Cars, 834 North Rush. The accomplice remains at large.
Jerome Williams and Semaj Bryant are charged with stealing over $20,000 worth of merchandise during raids on North Face and Sephora stores. Prosecutors said the men sold the stolen merchandise on a table inside a Subway restaurant on the South Side.
Tacarre Harper, 27, is accused of leading a group of late-night burglars who broke into Burberry’s flagship store twice on the Magnificent Mile last month. Harper and his team are also responsible for “dozens” of burglaries at liquor stores and retailers across the city and suburbs, CPD Supt. David Brown said.