Tacarre Harper, suspected leader of Smash-And-Grab burglars who targeted stores on Mag Mile and around town, arrested and charged

CHICAGO (CBS) — The accused ringleader of a group that carried out nine “smash and grab” burglaries on Michigan Avenue and elsewhere in the city is under arrest.

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reported Tuesday afternoon, Tacarre Harper, 24, of Maywood, was charged with nine counts of burglary on Tuesday, according to the Cook County District Attorney’s Office.

Harper was shot Monday night in a home in the 600 block of North LeClaire Avenue in the South Austin neighborhood by the elite Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force.

A source tells CBS 2 investigators that Harper may have overseen 100 break-ins — and we’re told that number may be conservative.

Tacarre Harper, 27. (Chicago Police)

Prosecutors say he not only admitted to the most recent crimes he was charged with, but also stood out in photos taken from store surveillance video.

His two biggest burglaries – totaling $150,000 – stemmed from two burglaries at the Burberry store on Michigan Avenue on January 4 and 6, prosecutors said.

On January 4, Harper – along with two others – shot at the door of the Magnificent Mile luxury store until the front door opened, prosecutors said. They stole shoes and handbags from the display, totaling $70,000.

On Jan. 6, Harper returned to Burberry, opening the front door the same way — pulling on it until it opened, prosecutors said. On that occasion, Harper came with two or three other people and seized purses, purses and coats totaling $80,000, prosecutors said.

In addition to the Mag Mile Burberry store robberies, Harper is accused of numerous other retail robberies that targeted gaming and liquor stores in various parts of the city, including East Lakeview, Logan Square, Wicker Park, Belmont Cragin, Belnont Central and North Austin. . In addition to the Mag Mile robberies, the other robberies in which Harper is accused occurred at the following locations and dates:

• November 26, 2021, in the 6100 block of West Diversey Avenue;
• November 26, 2021, in the 1500 block of North Cicero Avenue;
• November 26, 2021, in the 2000 block of West Division Street;
• November 26, 2021, in the 3900 block of West Diversey Avenue;
• December 28, 2021, in the 4900 block of West Fullerton Avenue;
• January 6, 2022, in the 2900 block of North Broadway;
• January 2, 2022, in the 400 block of West Belmont Avenue.

A search warrant for Harper’s phone showed footage of the stolen merchandise. Prosecutors say Harper even posted videos of himself with co-defendants on Facebook.

Prosecutors also said Harper didn’t just wear very distinctive clothing during the crimes — a Hood Rich sweatshirt during some burglaries and a Mickey Mouse t-shirt during others.

Harper has a criminal record dating back to 2013. He has previous charges of domestic violence, identity theft and retail theft, and there were already four warrants for his arrest when he was arrested.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent of Police. David Brown said the collaboration between the Chicago Police Department’s Organized Retail Theft Task Force, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement partners law is behind the arrests and charges in this case.

“They followed every lead and used every tool at our disposal — including technological resources and POD video cameras to track these offenders,” Brown said.

Police also work closely with the business community to prevent crime, Brown said.

“It’s pretty satisfying that we’re working on these cases upfront and putting the pieces of technology, video, and license plate readers together,” Brown said.

“Some people mistakenly think these are victimless crimes, but these crimes have real victims – employees and customers physically present in stores during the crimes who are put at risk,” added Kimberly Bares, President and CEO of the Magnificent Mile Association.

A judge on Tuesday estimated Harper’s bond at $200,000 – saying the amount equals the total value of all the goods Harper and his crew have stolen in the past two months.


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