Smash-and-grab crew hits another sneaker store in Wicker Park

A stolen Jeep sits on the sales floor at Urban Jungle, 1369 North Milwaukee, after a smash-and-grab burglary on October 28, 2023. | Provided

CHICAGO — “Unfortunately, today we woke up with a f*****g striker Jeep in our store. F****d up our racks. F****d up our walls.” So went the Saturday morning Instagram post by the owner of Urban Jungle, 1369 North Milwaukee.

His store became the latest retailer to be hit in a string of smash-and-grab break-ins that began Tuesday morning in River North.

Pictures from the scene showed Chicago police crime scene tape stretched across a gaping hole in Urban Jungle’s storefront with a white Jeep Cherokee sitting 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.

A stolen Jeep sits on the sales floor at Urban Jungle, 1369 North Milwaukee, after a smash-and-grab burglary on October 28, 2023. | Provided

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.

Smash-and-grabbers struck in River North on Tuesday, too.

Witnesses reported that a burglary crew slammed a white Dodge Charger through the entrance of Little Black Dress, 750 North Franklin, around 5:50 a.m. The group backed another vehicle into the front glass at Endless Supply Sneaker Boutique next door.

Both stores were looted by the group, which fled in a pickup truck, an Infiniti, and a gray Maserati, according to a Chicago police document. A Chicago police officer responding to Tuesday’s burglaries radioed that he saw the vehicles entering the outbound Kennedy Expressway at Ontario Street.

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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