Chicago police send out alert about massive rash of car thefts on Near South Side

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff and Christine Tressel WLS logo
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Police warn of rising car thefts in one Chicago neighborhood
The Chicago police bulletin released on Wednesday shows just how hot the car theft market is.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago community alert is warning about a concerning amount of stolen and vandalized cars.

The alert focuses on a part of the city where dozens of cars have been targeted on the same street.

The Chicago police bulletin released on Wednesday shows just how hot the car theft market is.

RELATED: Chicago car thefts reach record highs, data investigation reveals

A recent I-Team data analysis revealed car thefts citywide happening at a record high speed and those numbers indicate a mammoth jump in Grand Theft Auto the past twelve months alone.

But nothing seems to match the stats in the newly released CPD alert in one district alone where the brazen thefts have spiked.

The alert involves the 1st Police District on the Near South Side and the patrol area, beat 133, which is primarily along South Martin Luther King Drive and a couple of adjoining streets.

There were 26 individual autos targeted in that area, some on the same day and the same block, others within one minute of another.

"The workload out here on the officers in the beat cars is just tremendous. They're literally bouncing from one call to another call. Not that much time for proactive policing, not as much as they'd like," said Eugene Roy, former CPD chief of detectives.

According to the list of cars, the thefts occurred at all hours of the day, sunshine and sunset.

Authorities revealed the vehicles were locked and unattended and thieves accessed them by breaking the driver or passenger side windows before taking possession.

The Chicago police Bureau of Detectives is currently in charge of this investigation. Roy sees the possibility of an organized crew behind this rash of thefts.

"First thing is, individuals have to take responsibility for their particular car," he said. "I'm not blaming the auto theft side on the owners, but there's things they can do. They can make sure that the cars are positioned in a place where they're under a streetlight, where that streetlight is going to have a bit of a deterrent effect. Make sure there's no personal property, especially credit cards and any identifying information left inside the car that can be used to commit another series of crimes such as identity theft."

In the alert Chicago police detectives explain that owners of high-theft Kias and Hyundais may obtain anti-theft steering wheel locks from local police CAPS offices.

City residents can also be reimbursed for the cost of GPS tracking devices by registering with the city and have traceable markings etched onto catalytic converters that have become theft magnets.