Chicago — An armed burglary crew that has struck dozens of liquor stores during overnight raids across Chicago over the past month was back in action Monday morning.
Chicago police have issued a series of warnings about the group, which has broken into stores from Hyde Park to Rogers Park to Jefferson Park and Wicker Park.
The crew of between three and five men travels in a gray Dodge Durango equipped with stolen license plates as they travel around town, according to Chicago police documents reviewed by CWB Chicago. Police believe the burglars take the plates off the truck before they commit a crime, then put them back on afterward.
They started this morning by driving into the city from near 125th Street, making a stop to burglarize a liquor store in Hyde Park.
They moved on to the North Side and tried to break into Cardinal Wine & Spirits, 4905 North Lincoln, around 2:45 a.m. But they were apparently spooked by a passing patrol car and moved on. Officers reported seeing the Durango running stop signals with its headlights off as it sped from the area.
But they had better luck breaking into Park West Liquors, 2572 North Lincoln, around 3:30 a.m. A witness reported three or four men, all dressed in black and wearing face masks, inside the store.
Police arrived in time to see the Durango speeding away from the store. Officers followed it to Lake Shore Drive but then let it go due to safety concerns, according to CPD radio transmissions.
Around 4:50 a.m., the group broke into Division Street Liquors, 1759 West Division, then headed outbound on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
In addition to hitting mom-and-pop shops, the group has targeted big-box Binny’s locations in Hyde Park and near Goose Island, according to police records.
In its most recent warning about the crew, CPD linked them to a growing list of burglaries:
- 5500 block of N. Milwaukee on January 21 at 5:35 a.m.
- 4900 block of W. Irving Park Rd. on January 23 at 4:30 a.m.
- 4000 block of N. Kedzie on January 24 at 5:30 a.m.
- 2600 block of N. Kedzie on February 4 at 6 a.m.
- 3200 block of W. Diversey on February 4 at 6:12 a.m.
- 1700 block of N. Marcey on February 4 at 6:24 a.m.
- 1000 block of W. Fullerton on February 7 at 1:58 a.m.
- 400 block of W. Belmont on February 7 at 2:35 a.m.
- 300 block of W. North Ave. on February 8 at 2:41 a.m.
- 3100 block of W. Montrose on February 8 at 3:23 a.m.
- 5200 block of N. Lincoln on February 8 at 3:45 a.m.
- 4600 block of N. Kedzie on February 16 at 1:36 a.m.
- 1200 block of E. 47th St. on February 16 at 3:01 a.m.
- 1700 block of N. Marcey on February 16 at 3:28 a.m.
- 5500 block of N. Milwaukee on February 16 at 5:41 a.m.
- 2900 block of N. Broadway on February 22 at 2:48 a.m.
- 2900 block of W. Devon on February 22 at 5:45 a.m.
- 2500 block of W. Lawrence on February 22 at 6 a.m.
- 2400 block of W. Diversey on February 24 at 4 a.m.
- 3600 block of N. Damen on February 24 at 4:48 a.m.
- 1800 block of W. Irving Park Rd. on February 24 at 6:02 a.m.
Anyone with information about the crew can contact Area One detectives at 312-747-8384, Area Three detectives at 312-744-8263, or Area Five detectives at 312-746-7394. Refer to crime pattern P-23-008B.
The crime pattern bears strong resemblances to a similar wave of liquor store break-ins that vexed Chicago cops one year ago. In fact, some of the stores that have been targeted this year were also victimized during last year’s wave.
Two men and a woman have been charged with participating in last year’s crime wave, which also included break-ins at high-dollar retailers, including Burberry and Moosejaw.