Chicago business owners clean up after series of ATM thefts – NBC Chicago

Seven businesses were targeted by thieves over the weekend. Chicago police are investigating a series of burglaries spanning 20 miles from March 31 to April 2.

Police said the offenders are seen arriving early in the morning at closed businesses in a White Jeep Cherokee Trail Hawk with no license plates. They open the doors of shops, break windows, damage or steal ATMs.

Pork Chop in West Town is now ATM-free and plywood covers the front door.

“It’s locked. I have no idea how they did it,” restaurant owner Jovanis Bouargouv said.

“I’ve been in Chicago for 20 years now, and I’ve never seen [crime] as bad as that,” he said.

The robbery at Pork Chop happened around 4:30 a.m. on April 2, likely just minutes before the early morning food prep attendants arrived. Bouargouv is grateful that no one was injured.

“Money is always replaceable. A life is not,” Bouargouv said.

The day before, the same suspects may have used a crowbar to smash the glass and break through a metal security barrier at the high-end Flee Club shoe store on West Taylor Street.

Co-owner Sabrian Sledge estimates their losses at $70,000.

“Just like a devastating feeling because you work so hard being your own business,” Sledge said. “It makes us wonder where we came from.”

It was the fifth burglary at the shoe store in two years and the second in less than a month.

“Insurance actually let us down because it’s high risk at this point,” Sledge said.

At a press conference Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Superintendent of Police. David Brown said violent crime was down so far in 2022.

However, according to city data analyzed by NBC 5 Investigates, retail theft increased 50% in the first three months of 2022 compared to the same period last year.

The mayor and superintendent announced a new plan on Monday to tackle crime with heavy reliance on security cameras. Authorities are asking home and business owners to register existing cameras with the city and offer a rebate program to those who want to purchase the equipment.

“Registration can make the difference between offenders being released or being held accountable,” Superintendent David Brown said.

Sledge said the cameras were ineffective in deterring criminals in any of the five incidents at his store.

“I don’t know how much security you can have,” he said. “It’s just the same cycle. It’s very frustrating.”

The store will remain closed for the time being and the owners are wondering if it can be permanent.

Pork Chop has reopened but is still waiting for insurance to replace the ATM and fix the windows.

“We cannot afford to close,” Bouargouv said. “We are trying to survive but it is getting harder and harder.”

Chicago police said there were no arrests in any of the incidents, but detectives are continuing to investigate.

Time and place of incident:

  • March 31, 2022 6:00 a.m. Block 1600 of East 75th St.
  • April 1, 2022 3:30 a.m. Block 1400 of East 47th Dr.
  • April 1, 2022 4:00 a.m. 1800 block of West Lawrence Ave.
  • April 1, 2022 6:00 a.m. Block 2200 of West Taylor St.
  • April 2, 2022 4:30 a.m. Block 1100 of West Grand Ave.
  • April 2, 2022 4:45 a.m. Block 2000 from East 87th St.
  • April 2, 2022 6:00 a.m. Block 2700 of North Clark St.

NBC Chicago

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