Zumiez store employees report attacks by shoplifters at Chicago location

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A Zumiez store manager has recored 28 incidents in just the past 60 days at the Chicago location on State Street. (WLS)

Shoplifters at the Zumiez clothing store in Chicago's Loop have punched, shoved and even spit on employees, who have reported the problem and are still waiting for help, a store manager said.

"I can no longer keep my staff safe because I can't keep myself safe and I don't know what to do," said Taylor Collins, first assistant manager at Zumiez.

The popular skate boarding clothing store, located on State Street, has been a target since it opened in 2015.

Collins said things are getting worse. "There have been knives, there have been girls spitting on us, there have been men throwing drinks at us, taking my female sales associates and throwing them into tables," she said.

She's recorded 28 incidents in just the past 60 days.

And it's not just theft, it's battery, too.

"It's just starting to escalate and the violence is now getting worse," Collins said.

Chicago police confirm that at least six of the incidents was documented in police reports.

They incidents often involved groups of young people - both men and women - and usually took place in the late afternoon or early evening.

Collins says she's gotten little assistance.

"This comes with the territory, is what I've been told word for word. And it shouldn't," she said.

And it's not just Zumiez.

Just last week, 23-year-old T'Keyah Herbert was charged with robbing a State Street department store twice in the last month, armed with a stun gun.

Collins said she's hearing the same reports from employees at several clothing stores along State Street. She would like increased police presence on the street.

"I feel like the city of Chicago and the Chicago police department haven't come up with a solution yet for these ongoing problems," she said.

A Chicago Police Department spokesperson said that these cases have all been assigned to Area Central police detectives who are actively investigating what happened.

Collins worries that in the meantime, the problem will only get worse.

"These situations, I'm afraid, are going to continue to escalate," she said.

The Zumiez corporate office did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

The Chicago Loop Alliance released a statement saying, "Chicago Loop Alliance has become aware of these incidents through the work of the organization's Street Team Ambassadors who meet regularly with State Street businesses. We are working with our First District Police partners to prevent future incidents, and exploring instituting an off-duty officer to work alongside the organization's Street Team Ambassadors. In addition, we urge merchants to attend Business CAPS meetings to voice concerns and keep in communication with the police and other local businesses."
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