Thieves are stealing cars at Chicago gas stations. One Lakeview incident was caught on camera. (Video)

This video frame shows the car thief crouching as the woman fills her tank at Shell, 2801 North Ashland, on February 5, 2024. | Provided

CHICAGO — Just two months ago, a North Side alderman warned residents about a string of carjackings and auto thefts that occurred while victims were filling up at a Costco gas station. Now, video shows a car thief in action as he tries, but fortunately fails, to steal a woman’s car at a Lakeview gas station this week.

The footage, shared below and provided by a CWBChicago follower, was recorded around 11:12 a.m. Monday as a woman filled her car’s tank at Shell, 2801 North Ashland.

As she tends to the gas pump, the thief gets low and crawls up to the driver’s door on the opposite side of her vehicle. He watches her through the car’s windows and then slips into the driver’s seat after she removes the nozzle from the tank.

The woman jogs around the back of the car, apparently in a hurry to get back on the road. She reaches for the driver’s door handle and quickly jumps back in fear upon discovering the masked stranger sitting behind the wheel.

She runs away, screaming. The thief gets out of her car and enters the passenger side of a gray Acura MDX sitting nearby. That SUV speeds away, heading north on Ashland Avenue.

Watch the video:

Chicago cops responded to the scene, but they said the woman was gone when they arrived. Nobody reported the Acura stolen from the gas station, so it appears the thief arrived and escaped in that vehicle, possibly with an accomplice.

Previous warning

In December, Lakeview Ald. Bennett Lawson (44th) told his constituents that car thieves were routinely stealing cars from a neighborhood Costco’s service station.

“If you shop at the Costco located at 2746 N Clybourn Ave, please be aware that there has been a recent string of carjackings taking place at that location when customers have gone to the gas station in the Costco parking lot,” Lawson wrote in the December email.

“The Chicago Police Department recommends—no matter what gas station you stop at—to turn off your vehicle, remove your keys and keep them on your person, and lock your vehicle,” the alderman continued. “Many instances of carjacking at this Costco location and other gas stations have taken place when keys have been left in the vehicle. Please continue to remain safe and vigilant!”

An Uber driver contacted CWBChicago in October after a Costco attendant warned him about thefts.

“He told me a group in a black BMW came at 4 p.m. [October 17] and a guy got out in a hoodie and face mask and stole a car as a woman pumped the gas, she had left her keys in the car.”

“He told me the same group attempted [October 19] but were unsuccessful, and that they also went to Oakbrook to try it there in between,” the man continued. “They didn’t pull into the gas line area, and the cameras didn’t pick up the plates. Very brazen.”

Residents noticed some changes at Costco after an auto theft on November 9.

“I noticed 2-3 security guards with large revolvers walking all around the cars pumping gas and in line,” a woman wrote on Nextdoor.

She said a “wonderful” Costco employee “told me to go back to my car, close the door and lock [the] car while I pumped gas. She said two cars were stolen this week while people pumped gas with unlocked cars.”

“The criminals came through the shrubs that line Clybourn at the gas station,” the woman continued. “She recommended when getting fuel use pumps 2,3,4,5 so that you are not on the end where it is easy to steal cars.”

Original reporting you’ll see nowhere else, paid for by our readers. Click here to support our work.

About CWBChicago 6336 Articles
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