Smash-and-grab crew plows Jeep into Wicker Park sneaker shop as week-long crime pattern grows

A smash and grab burglary crew left his SUV lodged in the window at Round Two, 1501 North Milwaukee, on October 31, 2023. | Steve Jensen

CHICAGO — Smash-and-grab burglars slammed a Jeep into another Wicker Park sneaker shop overnight. It’s the latest in a week-long string of similar crimes.

Chicago police responded to a traffic crash with airbags deployed in the 1500 block of North Milwaukee around 4:27 a.m. When they arrived, they found a Jeep rammed into the side window at Round Two, 1501 North Milwaukee. No one was in the car when the cops showed up. The vehicle’s rear passenger window was broken, which is commonly seen in stolen vehicles.

It did not appear that the burglars were able to get into the store.

The collision dislodged one of the building’s structural columns, and city building inspectors were going to the scene to look at the structure, which was built in the 1880s.

Round Two was targeted in a more traditional—and more successful—burglary on August 17. Two people broke the front gate and a window to enter the store and steal merchandise.

Smash-and-grab teams have repeatedly hit stores over the past week, with sneaker stores being a favorite target.

Just over a block away from Round Two, a crew plowed a stolen Jeep Cherokee into Urban Jungle, 1369 North Milwaukee, on Saturday morning. Police stretched scene tape across a gaping hole in Urban Jungle’s storefront as a white SUV sat in the middle of the sales floor.

Witnesses called in a burglary in progress around 4:48 a.m., saying at least two carloads of burglars fled with the store’s merchandise.

The store got hit on September 22, too. Burglars gained access by throwing a rock through the front glass that time.

A similar break-in was attempted on Thursday morning at Boneyard Chicago, a high-end sneaker store at 1102 North Ashland. 

Like Urban Jungle, the Boneyard is located in Chicago’s first ward, represented by Ald. Daniel La Spata.

“I am disheartened about the ongoing auto-oriented acts of violence throughout Chicago, especially those impacting the 1st Ward businesses and residents,” La Spata said on Twitter Friday.

He spoke after coming under fire from constituents who saw news reports in which the Boneyard’s owner said La Spata’s office removed concrete barriers that the store erected to prevent the exact type of break-in it suffered this week.

“We had a conversation with them,” the store’s owner told WGN this week. “I guess, aesthetically, they didn’t like the way the barricades looked.”

La Spata denied that his office was responsible for the removal.

About 15 minutes after burglars targeted the Boneyard, a white SUV slammed into Unique Chicago, 1839 South State, around 4:31 a.m. At least three carloads of people ran into the compromised storefront, and some were still running out with sneakers and other merchandise as police arrived. No arrests were made.

Around 6 a.m. Wednesday, a smash-and-grab crew drove a stolen SUV into a display window at Louis Vuitton, 919 North Michigan, on the Magnificent Mile. Cops found the Jeep used as a battering ram abandoned at the scene.

The store’s reinforced glass largely stood up to the impact, and the crew fled without entering the store, according to a CPD report. A caravan of vehicles, including a Maserati, fled the scene.

About an hour before the Louis Vuitton attempt, burglars crashed into Flee Club, a sneaker store at 2221 West Taylor. That business was successfully looted of merchandise worth $40,000.

The crime pattern began one week ago, around 5:50 a.m. on October 24, at 750 North Franklin in River North.

Witnesses reported that a burglary crew slammed a white Dodge Charger through the entrance of Little Black Dress and backed another vehicle into the front glass at Endless Supply Sneaker Boutique next door.

Both shops were looted by the group, which fled in a pickup truck, an Infiniti, and a gray Maserati, according to a Chicago police document.

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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