CPD issue alert after more than 20 crash-and-grab burglaries, video shows thieves using sledgehammer

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team, Christian Piekos, and Eric Horng WLS logo
Friday, July 12, 2024
Thieves with sledgehammer break into store amid crash-and-grab alert
Thieves with a sledgehammer were caught on video breaking into Gold Coast Market. CPD issued an alert about a series of smash-and-grab burglaries

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police have issued an alert about a series of crash-and-grab burglaries.

Investigators are connecting nearly two-dozen crimes since late May at liquor and retail stores. Most are on the South Side.

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New video Thursday showed one of the crimes, with a group of brazen thieves breaking into Gold Coast Market on Chicago's Near North Side at Chicago and Clark. The suspects pulled up in three different vehicles and then used a sledgehammer to smash their way inside.

With more than a dozen swings of a sledgehammer the thieves broke through bulletproof glass, and after making entry they methodically and seemingly without worry.

"They were definitely taking their time," Gold Coast Market owner Hani Falistine-Hurah said. "They actually even turned on the light... I would have to check the videos again, but I wouldn't be surprised if they opened up a bag of chips to eat. That's how, that's how comfortable they were."

Falistine-Hurah said said around 3 a.m., in plain view of passing drivers, the thieves stole the store's cash register and thousands of dollars of high end liquor.

If we're not going to be getting support from our local officials and provide safety, this is the part where the businesses start taking matters into their own hands
Hani Falistine-Hurah, Gold Coast Market owner

"I mean, our most expensive bottle they took is a $6,000 bottle of Ace of Spades," Falistine-Hurah said.

The thieves weren't satisfied, hooking up a Jeep SUV to an ATM near the door, which was bolted to the ground. They tried, but failed, to pull it from the store.

Gold Coast Market, which is two blocks from a CPD outpost at the Chicago CTA Red Line stop, has message for city leaders.

"If we're not going to be getting support from our local officials and provide safety, this is the part where the businesses start taking matters into their own hands," Falistine-Hurah said.

The crime is part of a pattern of thefts, targeting more than two dozen liquor and other stores since May, Chicago police said.

After the alert was issued Thursday morning, a burglary and an attempted burglary were reported at two more liquor stores.

About 30 minutes after the incident at Gold Coast Market, what appeared to be the same offenders, wearing the same clothing and using the same Jeep SUV, tried to pull off the security gate from another liquor store, breaking the chain. Employees at A&S Beverages in the Grand Crossing neighborhood said suspects tried to break in after 4 a.m.

A&S Beverages' Hanna Aboukier is frustrated and fed up after a group of suspects tried to break in early Thursday morning at her liquor store located at 75th Street and South Prairie Avenue.

The would-be thieves' plans were foiled though when they couldn't get through these metal security gates.

"It's hard," Aboukier said. "This is our livelihood for us to survive and work. For us to get the phone call that they are breaking into our store, it's enough when we got looted a couple years ago."

Store surveillance video captured the suspects in the act.

They can be seen brazenly backing a Jeep SUV onto the sidewalk attach a chain to the security gate and accelerate trying to remove the barrier.

The suspects were unsuccessful and tried again and again with no luck. Video showed the suspects driving off empty handed.

"Literally when I saw it I was sick to my stomach," Aboukier said. "They just have the courtesy period to do that. It's sad."

Aboukier said they used to park a car on the sidewalk in front of the store to deter these types of crimes, but she said they were ticketed by police.

"For us to protect our business, that's the only way because we can't put nothing in front of the store on the sidewalk," Aboukier said.

Just a few minutes earlier, Chicago police also said suspects tried to break into George's Food and Liquor on West 95th Street.

This comes after police issued an alert connecting a string of 20 crash-and-grabs across the city from May to July.

Police said the suspects broke in and stole merchandise from inside before driving away.

Police said seven to eight men armed with guns have been using stolen cars to ram into businesses. Then they're stealing cash registers, liquor, and other items from inside.

The burglaries have occurred in the:

-8000-block of South Kedzie Ave on May 27, 2024 at 3:05 a.m.

-800-block of West 87th Street on May 27, 2024 at 4:19 a.m.

-200-block of West Root Street on June 15, 2024 at 4:30 a.m.

-10000-block of South Western Ave on June 14, 2024 at 2:45 a.m.

-9000-block of South Ashland Ave on June 14, 2024 at 5:15 a.m.

-400-block of East 103rd St on June 15, 2024 at 2:55 a.m.

-7900-block of South Exchange Ave on June 15, 2024 at 5:30 a.m.

-1600-block of East 79th St on June 15, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.

-700-block of East 87th St on June 16, 2024 at 12:30 a.m.

-200-block of West Root St on June 18, 2024 at 5:13 a.m.

-700-block of East 87th St on June 18, 2024 at 5:45 a.m.

-100-block of East 51st St on June 19, 2024 at 4:23 a.m.

-500-block of East 47th St on June 19, 2024 at 4:56 a.m.

-7100-block of South State St on June 21, 2024 at 4:23 a.m.

-9700-block of South Commercial Ave on June 21, 2024 at 3:50 a.m.

-9300-block of South Cottage Grove Ave on June 21, 2024 at 5:20 a.m.

-2200-block of West Taylor St on June 22, 2024 at 4:00 a.m.

-400-block of East 103rd St on June 22, 2024 at 4:43 a.m.

-8700-block of South Commercial Ave on July 2, 2024 at 3:57 a.m.

-6600-block of South Halsted St on July 2, 2024 at 4:35 a.m.

-8000-block of South Kedzie Ave on July 3, 2024 at 5:00 a.m.

-200-block of West Root St on July 7, 2024 at 3:54 a.m.

- 5400-block of South Halsted St on July 9, 2024 at 5:18 a.m.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Area 1 detectives at (312) 747- 8384, Area 2 detectives at (312) 747- 8273 or Area 3 detectives at (312) 744-8263

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