CHICAGO (WLS) -- The city of Chicago is being stung by a thriving, five-fingered threat: pickpockets.
Even as Chicago police this week issued a public warning following a recent rash of pickpocket thefts in restaurants and retail stores, the ABC7 I-Team has determined that pickpocketing cases have increased 20% the past three years.
According to police crime data examined by the I-Team, the city is currently on pace to match or exceed last year's total of 2,440 reported pickpocket thefts.
August 2019 is shaping up as a particularly hot month for Chicago's burgeoning pickpocket industry.
During the first week of this month there have been 187 pickpocket incidents, which works out to more than twice number of pickpocket thefts per day as in August 2018.
Chicago Pickpocketing Incidents: August 2018 to August 2019
Restaurants this year have become a popular place for pocket-pickers. So far in 2019 there have been more than 100 pickpocketing incidents in restaurants. That far exceeds the number reported to police during the same period a year ago when there were 79.
The top location however for each year from 2016 to the present is a CTA train, with already 294 incidents on trains this year. Last year, pickpockets struck 598 times on CTA trains.
So far in 2019, pickpockets have struck four times on an aircraft, once at Wrigley and once at Soldier Field and even once in June in the secure area of O'Hare.
Where have pickpockets struck most in 2019?
Where are Chicago pickpockets most likely to strike?