Car thieves hit Gold Coast parking lot as auto theft cases soar by more than 100%

Chicago — For the second time this week, men have stolen vehicles from parking facilities in the Gold Coast. And similar thefts are a growing problem for car dealerships, repair shops, and parking garages across Chicago.

Around 2:50 p.m. Thursday, four men wearing ski masks stole two cars from a parking lot in the 100 block of West Maple, according to a Chicago Police Department report. The men stole keys to the parked cars and then drove away with a 2019 Honda and a 2014 Jeep, the report said.

Last Saturday, a white Porsche carrying three men wearing ski masks pulled into a garage in the 1000 block of North Lake Shore Drive around 6:10 a.m. The men got out and stole an unattended 2020 BMW that still had its key fob inside, according to a CPD report.

Motor vehicle theft reports, which do not include carjackings, are up 96% citywide compared to last year and up more than 100% compared to 2020, 2019, and 2018, according to CPD statistics.

In the four-week period ending Monday, auto thefts were up 181% compared to the same dates last year, the CPD data says. For the week ending Monday, care thefts were up 242% from the same week in 2021. Many of those thefts are related to the “Kia Boys” fad.

Crews have also stolen from parking garages in Streeterville. One incident occurred early on October 21 in the 300 block of West Superior. Then, there were five incidents in the 200 block of East Delaware early on October 27, police said.

Thieves have also been targeting car dealerships and other vehicle-related businesses, usually during overnight burglaries. They typically raid key boxes and drive away with cars. We first told you about the fad on October 30. And the number of incidents keeps climbing.

One crew targeted a Firestone in the 900 block of West North Avenue last month, breaking through a pane of glass on the service center garage door and shattering a key box, a police report said. It listed five vehicles as stolen and three others that were moved or damaged during the break-in.

Chicago police have also been issuing alerts to warn businesses about similar break-ins. Earlier in November, detectives said three businesses were burglarized between the 5900 and 7000 blocks of North Western Avenue between 3:15 a.m. and 3:45 a.m. on November 3.

Two of those businesses were auto body shops, and the third was a car dealership, according to police records. CWBChicago also learned that two other car-related businesses were targeted around the same time that morning in the 4100 and 4200 blocks of North Western.

A separate alert from CPD identified five more thefts of vehicles from auto repair shops during business hours. The warning said the thefts happened in the early afternoon of November 2 in the 3100 block of West Irving Park and the 3000 block of West Montrose. The next day, the same crew hit three more times shortly after noon: twice in the 4900 block of North Elston and once in the 5900 block of North Northwest Highway.

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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