Lincoln Avenue plumbers targeted by thieves 3 times in 2 months; getaway car caught on video

Employees were held at gunpoint during first break-in

Tuesday, February 13, 2024
North Side plumbers targeted by thieves 3 times in 2 months: VIDEO
Thieves stole $100K worth of tools from a North Center plumbing business on Lincoln Avenue. The owner said plumbers were held at gunpoint last month.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A plumbing and heating business on the North Side was broken into Monday morning for the third time in two months.

The crime happened in the 4300-block of North Lincoln Avenue.

"I can promise you we're gonna get hit again," Fettes Love and Sieben owner Scott Hoffman said. "This is just ridiculous."

The most recent robbery happened Monday morning at around 4:15 a.m.

"We boarded that up and then this morning, they decided to go through this one," Hoffman said. "I am at a loss. I really am."

Twice, surveillance video shows the same white SUV pull up on the side.

Now, they're fearful for their lives when they come here. It's terrible
business owner Scott Hoffman

Thieves broke a window and stole hand tools, pipe threaders and other power tools. The owner said in all, over $100,000 worth of equipment has been stolen.

"They just want the tools. They're expensive pieces of equipment," he said. "They literally said, 'Where are your sewer cameras? Where are your pro press guns? Where are your pipefitters?' They knew exactly what they wanted."

Hoffman's business was also broken into last Wednesday at 5 a.m. and Jan. 18 at 6 a.m. He said that January incident, when two of his employees were held at gunpoint, was perhaps the most frightening.

"My two plumbers that came in early and had guns to their heads," Hoffman said. "Dragged into the office, guns to their heads, demanding equipment, and loaded their trucks."

In both instances, thieves broke a window and stayed inside 15 minutes before leaving with tools.

"They have young families. They're trying to do a job. These are plumbers, and now, they're fearful for their lives when they come here. It's terrible," Hoffman said.

SEE ALSO: Hammer-wielding burglars behind 5 Wicker Park, Bucktown break-ins in 3 hours

Hoffman said the plumbing company has been around for 100 years.

"We're in a great neighborhood on the North Side and our hands are tied," he said. "Nothing is being done. It's terribly upsetting. It's awful."

Hoffman added that some of the equipment that was stolen had Apple AirTags attached; police told him they were tracking it.

The thieves also smashed into AJ Guidice's Jeep, which was parked on the street, damaging the front end of his car when they tried to escape.

"Now I've got to deal with this. This is not how I wanted to start my day after the Super Bowl," Giudice said.

Hoffman said he has resorted to passing out flyers to alert his neighbors.

"This is a great neighborhood. We are in the Lincoln Square area and it's a beautiful area. People are oblivious to what's happening around them. We just want to get that out," he said.

Hoffman also said he reached out to city officials and his ward alderman for help. Alderman Matt Martin said in a statement that he has been in regular contact with the 19th Police District.

"In response to these crimes, the district has expanded its early morning patrols of commercial corridors across North Center and Lincoln Square," Martin said.

Police were able to interrupt Monday morning's burglary involving two men wearing black hooded sweatshirts and pants who escaped in a white SUV. So far, no arrests have been made.

INTERACTIVE SAFETY TRACKER | Track crime and safety in your neighborhood