WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (WLS) --Police from multiple suburbs are tracking car thieves who are using the vehicles they take to commit other crimes.
Saturday night in west suburban Willowbrook, a couple was robbed by men who then sped off in a car they had previously stolen from neighboring Darien. That car was then spotted at crime scenes at half a dozen suburbs.
"As they got out, three individuals got out of the other car with guns," said resident Gary Wider.
Surveillance video released by the Hinsdale Police Department shows how criminals are targeting suburbanites. Investigators said if a car is simply left unlocked, as in the footage police released, the thief steals anything valuable and then returns to the getaway car. If the owner left the keys inside the car, the thieves take the car too.
"It's not just take the car for the joyride, it's take the car to commit other criminal acts," said Hinsdale Police Deputy Chief Tom Yehl.
The Jaguar driven by Paul O'Neal at the time of his fatal shooting by Chicago police was stolen from Bolingbrook, police said. Other vehicles used in smash and grab robberies are also frequently stolen, according to police.
In July, a Lincoln car was stolen from Burr Ridge. Over the following 16 days, police said it was spotted at crime scenes in St. Charles, Lake Forest and Barrington. Evidence photos show stolen cologne and drug paraphernalia in the back seat after the car was recovered in Chicago.
"Some of the suspects and the intelligence we've developed, they're coming from the city out to the suburbs," said Yehl. He thinks there's a reason for that pattern.
"(It's) because sometimes there's a false sense of security in the suburbs. People think crime doesn't happen as often as the city," he said.
In just one night in July five cars were stolen and 30 burglarized in Naperville.
"In cases we had, every one of those cars was unlocked and for the stolen cars was were a set of keys in the car as well, so we're urging our residents: Lock your vehicles!" said Commander Jason Arres of the Naperville police.
Darien police said the stolen car used in the armed robbery in Willowbrook has been recovered in Chicago. No one is in custody.