Woman says thief snatched phone as she sat in car on Michigan Avenue

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Chicago businesswoman Tracey Alston said her cellphone was snatched as she sat in her car with the windows down waiting to make a turn. (WLS)

There's a new warning about thieves stealing phones in downtown Chicago.

A woman says she was sitting in her car near Michigan Avenue and Randolph when she said someone approached her, waving his hand. She thought the person was about to ask for help, but they stole her phone instead.

"I've got my phone in my hand and he grabs my phone and runs," Tracey Alston said.

The Chicago businesswoman said her cellphone was snatched Tuesday evening as she sat in her car with the windows down waiting to make a turn.

"He sticks his hand in my car," said Alston, "and then he runs off." Alston wasn't hurt during the robbery.

It's possible the incident may have been one of several that day by thieves preying on the unsuspecting. That has 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly once again urging the Chicago Police Department to dispatch more manpower to the downtown area and along the lakefront to help the crime fighting efforts he says he believes are working.

"Every neighborhood in Chicago," Ald. Reilly said. "It's not that downtown is special."

The Chicago Police Department said that in addition to the summer mobile patrol of 100 officers "exclusively dedicated to the lakefront and neighborhood parks," they are adding other officers, too.

Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said in a written statement: "As we grow the Chicago Police Department by nearly 1,000 new officers...the 18th and 1st Districts have received between 25 and 30 new officers so far this year. We have also set up dedicated patrols for the Chicago Riverwalk and surrounding areas."

And while Tracey Alston says she'll welcome more cops on the streets, she's not going to let her experience change her.

"I was angry and disappointed, but I'm not afraid," she said.
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