13-Jun-19 Nine car thefts have been reported in River North in the past two months. Chicago police say the cars are taken for joyrides, used to commit other crimes, or stripped of parts to be sold on the black market.
In each incident, the victims vehicle was parked, unoccupied, and running with the keys in the ignition when an offender dropped off nearby approached, entered the vehicle, and drove away. In two incidents, victims say the thief arrived in a silver Chevrolet sedan.
Locations of these incidents include...
300 block of West Erie Street on April 29 in the afternoon
1100 block of North State Street on April 29 in the afternoon
100 block of West Ontario Street on May 10 in the evening
600 block of North Clark Street on May 11 in the morning
700 block of North Rush Street on May 14 in the evening
600 block of North LaSalle Drive on May 15 in the evening
100 block of East Erie Street on May 30 in the morning
600 block of North Clark Street on June 1
600 block of North LaSalle Drive on June 2
Witnesses describe the offenders as one to three male African Americans, 17 to 25 years old, about five feet seven inches tall, and weighing 145 to 160 pounds.
Authorities say young joyriders are in large part to blame for the 22 percent increase in car thefts in Chicago, but the money behind auto thefts also involves using stolen cars to commit robberies and other crimes then dumping the cars once the work is done.
Other thefts are blamed on the black market that buys parts stripped off stolen cars. Chop shops, often connected to organized crime, pay people to steal cars and deliver them to a building where the cars are disassembled and the parts sold to local car repair shops.
Ron Roenigk contributed to this story.