Thieves steal Chicago Police Department patrol bike in the Loop (CPD says it was locked.)

We don’t write a lot of stories about bicycle thefts. But if the bike belongs to the Chicago Police Department and has the words “CHICAGO POLICE” written over it, we’re in.

It happened around 7:25 p.m. Wednesday at 68 East Wacker Place in the Loop, according to a CPD report. That’s the address of Hampton Inn, across the street from Morton’s Steakhouse.

Chicago Police Department bicycle patrol officers stop a motorist in the Loop in February 2020. | CPD

“Officers secured their bicycles and entered an establishment,” a CPD spokesperson said. “Upon exiting, it had been discovered that three unknown male offenders were able to un-secure one of the bicycles and flee westbound from the location.”

The spokesperson would not say whether the officers were on break or handling a call when the thieves swiped the department’s bike.

But the theft generated plenty of chatter on the local police radio frequency.

Asked for a description of the thief, a dispatcher said, “the clue would be he does not have on a police uniform.”

“Did he steal the uniform, too?” a cop asked.

“They are hiring just about everyone today, so who knows,” replied another.

Later, in a nod to the department’s ban on pursuits, an officer asked for some guidance: “Can we chase it if we see it?”

It seemed like he was joking. But maybe not.

The caper came to a happy conclusion early Thursday morning.

Around 5:15 a.m., a man called 911 to report that a Chicago Police Department bicycle and “other items” were on his company’s deck near Adams and State streets in the Loop.

Cops went to the scene and recovered the wayward ride.

Area Three detectives are investigating the theft, according to the spokesperson.

Reports of major crimes are soaring this year in the Central (1st) Police District, which includes the Loop.

CPD’s latest CompStat statistical report (PDF) shows reports of seven crime categories monitored nationally are up 160% compared to this time last year.

Even worse: The district’s crime numbers this year are 17% higher than 2018, 30% higher than 2019, and 47% higher than 2020, which had not been affected by COVID at this point.

Through February 27, the Central District saw:

  • a 200% increase in murders, from 1 to 3
  • a 56% increase in criminal sexual assaults, from 9 to 14
  • an 80% increase in robberies, from 40 to 72
  • an 88% increase in aggravated batteries, from 17 to 32
  • a 155% increase in burglaries, from 11 to 26
  • a 192% increase in thefts, from 49 to 143
  • a 233% increase in motor vehicle thefts, from 54 to 178

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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 news@cwbchicago.com