Man pretending to raise money for charity stealing cell phones in Loop, police say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police have issued an alert about a man snatching cell phones using a tricky move to distract his victims.

The thefts occurred seven times in the last month. Police said the man targets people sitting at restaurants who have their phones on the table.

He claims he's raising money for charity, but while he's talking to people, he sets down fliers on top of their phone. Then, police said he picks up those papers, along with the phone and gets away.

The thefts occurred in the:

  • First block of South Wabash Avenue on March 11 at 3:30 p.m.

  • 300-block of South Wabash Avenue on March 11 at 3:45 p.m.

  • First block of North Michigan Avenue on March 11 at 4:30 p.m.


  • First block of South Michigan Avenue on March 13 at 12:30 p.m.

  • First block of West Lake Street on March 21 at 1:45 p.m.

  • 100-block of North Wabash Avenue on March 22 at 2:15 p.m.

  • 100-block of North State Street on March 22 at 2:15 p.m.



Police only have a vague description of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to contact Area Central Detectives (312) 747-8384.
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