Several Lakeview businesses along Belmont targeted by thieves

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Taboo Tabou on W. Belmont is one of nearly a half dozen Lakeview neighborhood stores recently targeted by a band of thieves. (WLS)

After thieves hit a half-dozen businesses in one night in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, business owners are upset because they say police aren't doing enough to curb crime.

Taboo Tabou on W. Belmont is one of nearly a half dozen Lakeview neighborhood stores recently targeted by a band of thieves.

"They kind of just mobbed my girls and made it so they couldn't control the floor," said Alexis Thomas, co-owner of Taboo Tabou.

The store's security camera captured the brazen robbery just after 7 p.m. Sunday. Surveillance video shows four women and a man entering the adult toy and lingerie shop and almost immediately start grabbing stuff. Minutes later, one of the thieves can be seen pushing a store worker -- who tried to stop them -- out of the way as the robbers fled with bags packed with merchandise worth more than $500.

"A lot of the problems we have in Lakeview crime is, we're missing our foot police officers," said Mark Thomas, co-owner of Taboo Tabou.

Police arrested two women and a man at the CTA'S Belmont red line stop when they ran to the "L" to get away.

Thomas - who closed his popular store The Alley last month and owns Taboo Tabou with his daughter - says the people who ripped them off were a part of a group of 10 to 12 thieves that hit up several other stores, even supposedly ripping off a tip jar from a corner coffee shop.

The crimes mirror what stats appear to show a decrease in robberies but an increase in burglaries. According to the Chicago Police Department COMPSTAT data, so far, there have been 645 burglaries in January 2016, compared to 568 in January 2015 - an 11 percent increase. Thefts in 2016 are actually down by 2 percent: 512 in January 2016 compared with 522 in January 2015.

Some business owners blame a lack of police presence for the crimes. Maureen Martino, the executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, says local aldermen supported last year's property tax increase for a promise of more Chicago police foot patrols.

"We haven't seen too many of that yet, so we're interested to hear where that deployments going to happen," Martino said.

While 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney says he's doing what he can to bring those resources back to the 19th District, and he says that includes police foot patrols.

Related Topics:
chicago crimeretailtheftburglaryChicago - Lakeview
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