Drivers' cellphones targeted in rash of thefts at busy Chicago intersections

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Cellphones have been snatched from drivers at busy Chicago intersections. (WLS)

Thieves have recently targeted drivers at busy downtown Chicago intersections to steal their cellphones from them as they sit in their vehicles.

Police said there had been a rash of robberies. The most recent occurred Sunday near Grand and State in the River North neighborhood.

In another incident at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Megan Beth was driving for a ride-share company with a passenger in the backseat when the theft occurred at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street. Beth was in the middle lane at a stop when a man, who had a gun visible in his waistband, approached her passenger door and opened it.

"I did see a gun and it was very alarming," Beth said. "He reached in all the way and grabbed my iPhone ... and he ran south on Michigan Avenue."

The area was crowded with cars and tourists and Millennium Park was across the street.

In another incident, Tracey Alson was in her car last week when a thief made off with her cellphone.

"He sticks his hand in my car ... he grabs my phone and then he runs off," Alson said.

It's unclear whether the same suspect is responsible for the robberies.

Beth said the thief who took her phone appeared to be in his late teens, about 5-feet-7-inches tall with short dark hair. He said something to her as he stole the phone, but she's not sure what.

"We were screaming at him the whole time so I (couldn't) really discern what he was saying," Beth said.

No one was in custody in any of the thefts. Police are looking at surveillance video cameras and are beefing up patrols.
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chicago crimetheftchicago police departmentChicagoMichigan AvenueRiver NorthLoop
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