Chicago police make more arrests for organized shoplifting operations

A Lincoln Park resident holds anti-shoplifting sirens from Ulta Beauty that were dumped in his alley by a shoplifting mob in May 2022. | Provided

News about shoplifting mobs and organized retail theft have faded from Chicago headlines, but the crimes are still happening, and the CPD’s Organized Retail Crime task force is still making arrests. Here are some recent cases:

Niketown raids

Prosecutors claim Maurice Forest and Robin Haywood stole more than $3,000 in shoes from Niketown, 669 North Michigan, and then sold them at gas stations and on city streets.

The duo was identified as the thieves who took boxes of shoes from the store on July 22, July 31, August 28, August 31, and September 3, prosecutor Rhianna Biernat said.

They are each charged with retail theft and operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise. Forrest, 33, allegedly told investigators that he steals because he has four children to support. Biernat said he had previous felony convictions for robbery in 2013 and narcotics in 2012.

Judge Barbara Dawkins ordered him to pay $500 toward bail to go home on electronic monitoring.

Haywood, 32, who has two children and works in construction, was ordered to pay a $1,000 deposit toward bail by Judge Susana Ortiz.

A Marshalls plan

Prosecutors say Maurice McKenzie shoplifted merchandise worth more than $2,800 from a Marshall’s store in Rogers Park during a series of thefts between July and September. Undercover officers followed McKenzie from the store after the last theft and saw him receive cash for a Marshall’s tote bag, prosecutors said.

He allegedly told police he committed the thefts because he was addicted to heroin.

Prosecutors said McKenzie, 29, was on parole for a felony theft conviction that was originally charged as burglary.

For the Marshalls allegations, he is charged with operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise, five counts of retail theft, and misdemeanor retail theft. The Illinois Department of Corrections revoked his parole after charges were filed, and he is now serving out the balance of his theft conviction at the Stateville Correction Center.

Repeat Target

Reginald Allen, 38, is charged with stealing $3,054 worth of merchandise from Target stores during four separate incidents between July and September. Allen allegedly stole products, frequently liquor, from the chain’s stores in the West Loop, Lakeview, and Near North Side.

He allegedly told police that he was trying to pay for his cousin’s funeral and that he sold stolen bottles of Tito’s vodka for about $10 each.

Allen had another felony retail theft case pending at the time of his arrest, and prosecutors said he had nine previous felony convictions, three of which were for retail theft or theft.

He is now charged with four counts of retail theft and operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise.

Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered him to pay a $300 bail deposit to go home on electronic monitoring.

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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