Crash-and-grab thieves strike West Side shoe store twice in a week

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thieves crashed into a shoe store on Chicago's West Side Thursday morning for the second time in a week.

Just before 3:55 a.m., police said someone drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee through the front window of Villa shoe store in the 1500-block of North Cicero Avenue in the city's Austin neighborhood.

Within minutes, three to five men got out of a different vehicle, described as a gray Honda CRV, took merchandise and ran away. Investigators believe thousands of dollars in name-brand items were stolen.

"I wouldn't even think that that can happen to a shoe store. Who does that? No one in their right mind would do that," said Jonathan Hawkins, a customer.

Last Friday, thieves drove a truck into the same store. Surveillance video of Thursday's theft shows the Jeep crashed through the boards protecting windows that were damaged in the previous incident.

Frustrations are high - not only at the store, but also among some area residents. They told ABC7 Eyewitness News this type of crime really hurts the neighborhood.

"The problem is, in the area, things are bad. Then we complain because we want more businesses to come in, more opportunities in the area. Then, like you said, we have instances like that," said Joshua Hughes, who lives in North Austin.

Managers said they would try to open for business Thursday, but they need to get the windows boarded up again. They are concerned the store will be hit again.

Police have not made any arrests. Area North detectives are investigating.
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