Surveillance video captured car thieves stealing a vehicle from a Chicago auto repair shop. The incident is part of a growing trend across the city in which thieves and, sometimes, armed robbers target body shops, carwashes, and other vehicle-focused businesses.
The thieves seem to have adopted the philosophy of famed bank robber Willie Sutton who, when asked why he robbed banks, purportedly replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”
The video, first tweeted by CPD1617Scanner, shows three people inside the work area of a body shop near Armitage and Grand on Thursday, October 27. They appear to go through a key box and manage to start two vehicles that are inside the business.
But they can’t figure out how to open the garage door.
No worries. They just drove one of the vehicles through the door, then eased their way out with a Dodge Charger. Watch:
Among other thefts and robberies at auto-related businesses:
- Burglars stole eight cars from a carwash and body shop in the 300 block of West Superior around 4 a.m. on October 21, according to a CPD report.
- Another eight cars were stolen from a used car dealership in the 3600 block of North Cicero on October 14, a police report said. Many of the vehicles were recovered the same day, mainly on the South Side.
- Also on October 14, burglars rammed through the door of an auto repair shop in the 2000 block of West Armitage around 1:29 a.m.
- At 1:30 a.m. on October 12, three thieves stole ten sets of keys and three vehicles from a rental agency in the 3200 block of West Fullerton.
While overnight may seem like a good time to steal cars from a business, many of the crimes happen during business hours:
- Two men tried to steal cars from a body shop in the 1000 block of West Huron on the afternoon of October 3. The shop’s employees chased them away, and the thieves escaped in a 2020 Nissan that was stolen in July from a muffler shop in Irving Park.
- Around 1:45 p.m. on September 27, four men jumped out of a car, attacked a body shop employee, and stole the keys to a vehicle at a body shop in the 3400 block of North Halsted, according to a CPD report. But the thieves didn’t get the car.
- Minutes later, the same group tried to break into cars at an auto service shop in the 4000 block of North Broadway. But they became spooked and fled without taking any vehicles.
- At 3:30 p.m. on September 15, two men with guns robbed an auto service shop in the 5100 block of North Western, according to CPD records.
- A tire shop in the 900 block of West North Avenue was targeted at 2:30 p.m. on September 6. According to a CPD spokesperson, a man exited a gray Hyundai, stole keys from the shop, and drove away with a 2007 BMW.
- Last month, CPD warned auto repair businesses about theft crews after one of them stole vehicles from four different shops on September 23. Police included several suggestions in their bulletin:
- Never leave a vehicle running while unattended.
- Never leave the vehicle keys in an unattended vehicle.
- Pay special attention to any suspicious subjects loitering in the area.
- Ensure that existing surveillance cameras are functional.
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