At least 5 auto repair shops in Albany Park, Irving Park targeted by thieves in last week

"I've been familiar with this neighborhood for about 22 years and I've never seen this like this."

ByMaher Kawash WLS logo
Friday, November 4, 2022
Car thefts from NW Side auto repair shops caught on video
At least five different shops on Chicago's Northwest Side have hit this week by thieves driving away with stolen cars or breaking in.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police are warning about a rash of crimes targeting auto repair businesses on the city's Northwest Side.

At least five different shops in Albany Park and Irving Park have hit this week by thieves driving away with stolen cars, or breaking in and damaging merchandise.

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Shocking surveillance video shows the startling trend for auto shops across Chicago's Northwest Side: cars stolen in broad daylight while mechanics are working inside the shop.

"I've been familiar with this neighborhood for about 22 years and I've never seen this like this," said Sadik Patel, owner of OK Body Shop and Auto Repair in Albany Park.

Patel said it was around 12:30 p.m. Thursday when these suspects casually walked into the garage as an employee notices one of them with a weapon. Moments later, two of the suspects get into one car, while the other two get into a black Audi. In just seconds, they get away.

"It's not fair for the customers because they rely on us because they trust us, and things like this happen," Patel said.

Auto shops across the Northwest Side seem to be getting targeted over the last few weeks. Chicago police issued a community alert highlighting several of incidents in the last few days.

The suspects in these incidents seem to only be targeting high-end vehicles. That was the case for Pearl Auto Spa on Elston, as an older Honda there was the second car they stole in broad daylight. It was recovered just a few blocks from away with damage.

"It's really frustrating and there's not much we can do about it, you know," said Konrad Dobrolinski, general manager at Pearl Auto Spa.

Dobrolinski and his brother have had at least three break-ins at this shop in Irving Park in the last month. Around 2 a.m. Friday, you can see thieves breaking in and searching for keys. They immediately break a TV, thinking it's a camera, and circle the place before leaving empty handed.

"Last year there was like one or two month in the year and now it's like every month or so," he said.

And there was another close call for a shop near the 3000-block of West Montrose.

"This unidentified black vehicle, he backed up into our shop parking lot and then two guys, they tried to get in and one of our mechanics luckily caught them right away," said Luis Olalla, at Cool Heat Auto Body on Montrose.

It's a crime spree causing thousands of dollars in damages, leaving shop owners pleading for help.

"Why? Why is this happening in an area such as this where we do have police half a mile from here," Patel said. "If there's more patrols, more cars on the street I think that would help prevent a little bit."