Metra responds after rash of thefts reported near train stations

EMBED </>More Videos

Metra riders have had their vehicles broken into at parking lots near train stations. (WLS)

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
The I-Team investigated a new rash of thefts striking people who park their cars near Metra train stations.

After a long day of work, dozens of people are stepping off Metra trains only to find their car windows have been smashed or all four of their wheels are gone. The I-Team first told you about this in January, and it is still a problem.

I-TEAM: Metra riders report stolen wheels, car parts in commuter parking lots
I-TEAM: More car parts stolen at commuter parking lots

In recent pictures, a car is seen with its wheels gone and up on bricks at the 211th Street lot near the Metra, another near the Burr Oak station, and another from the Ashland Metra stop in Calumet Park. There are also several reports of shattered windows at the 93rd Street and Burley lot.

"My driver's window was smashed, my car was ransacked. Everything was out of the console, everything was out of the glovebox," said Tina Gomez-Ferrell.

Gomez-Ferrell is one of the victims and has taken pictures of other cars targeted. The 93rd Street lot where drivers pay to park has an empty booth, no cameras, and is surrounded by bushes.

"I was disgusted on top of being scared," Gomez-Ferrell said.

ABC7's Jason Knowles asks: "What do you want Metra to do?"

"To provide more security," Gomez-Ferrell said.

The I-Team has been documenting the thefts since January. Catalytic converters were also stolen at the 93rd Street station, and another catalytic converter was swiped at the Lake Forest Metra station. Wheel caps were gone at 115th Street. Metra says there have been more than a dozen recent incidents at South Side lots and more than 50 reported to them at various lots in the last six months.

"We cannot possibly be everywhere all of the time. And I know people don't want to hear that and we are trying to address these issues because even one crime to us is too many," Metra Police Chief Joseph Perez said.

The Metra police chief points out that not all of the thefts are at lots under the jurisdiction of Metra police. But there are 105 officers who are also on the trains in charge of monitoring 90 Metra operated parking lots - many of which don't have cameras.

Knowles asks: "Is it park at your own risk?"

"I don't think it is that, our system is very safe," Perez said.

"There was glass busted here and throughout the whole car," Gomez-Ferrell said.

Gomez-Ferrell was lucky because the thieves didn't steal anything and failed after using a screwdriver to try to start her car. But she did have to pay $300 dollars out of pocket for a new window and a tow.

Metra says it has assigned special detail to that 93rd Street lot and one other that it has identified as problems areas.

You should not keep valuables in sight, and you can also buy wheel lug locks to protect your wheels from being stolen.
Related Topics:
burglaryI-TeamtheftmetraOlympia FieldsLake ForestChicago - BeverlyCalumet ParkBlue Island
(Copyright ©2018 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)