Portage Park hardware company B.E. Atlas targeted by burglars 6 times in just weeks

Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Portage Park hardware company B.E. Atlas targeted by burglars 6 times
A brazen burglary crew has targeted businesses in several Chicago neighborhoods every month this year except April, and has hit one Northwest Side hardware business six times.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A brazen burglary crew has targeted businesses in several Chicago neighborhoods every month this year except April. So far they have successfully ripped off dozens of electrical, plumbing and tool supply businesses, including one in Portage Park six times. They were targeted again Tuesday morning.

"I can tell you that it does make you think about, why am I bothering anymore?" said Jeffery Kovarsky, owner of B.E. Atlas Company.

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The wholesale hardware business his family has owned for more than 50 years has been targeted by thieves six times in just weeks.

Security video from Tuesday morning shows a trio of thieves unsuccessfully trying to steal again after hitting the business in the 4300-block of North Kilpatrick on Mother's Day.

"It makes it difficult to do business. It's like doing business in a war zone," Kovarsky said.

Chicago police issued a community alert about the danger Tuesday. So far the thieves, who are sometimes armed, have managed to pull off more than three dozen heists since January. B.E. Atlas appears to be a favorite target. One burglary from March was captured on surveillance videos.

Frustrated business owners don't know what to do, and neighborhood Chambers of Commerce are concerned too.

"What we're worried about is, is the community members, the customers and the residents who have been living here for a long time, what if they're so afraid they're going to move out?" said Trudy Leong of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce.

Although it's back to business at Atlas, it's anything but usual. Concerns about safety remain, even with extra security measures and the anxiety of knowing the thieves could strike again.

"We have cement blocks in front of the doors at night, things that you shouldn't have to do," said Kovarsky.

Investigators said the thieves sometimes drive different vehicles to the locations. There's been no comment by the alderpersons representing one of the wards where the burglary spree happened.