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At Least 5 Luxury Cars Stolen From Evanston Dealership

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Thieves targeted a luxury car dealership in the north suburbs overnight, stealing at least five cars.

For the past several months, there have been several dealerships targeted for high end, luxury cars. The most recent was at the Autobarn in Evanston.

Police responded to a disturbance call at the Autobarn dealer around 12:15 a.m. Friday, and found a door had been forced open. Inside, an unoccupied vehicle was running, and someone had broken into the office where the keys for cars were kept.

Evanston police said one of the dealership's garage doors had been opened. The owner said four BMWs and a Porsche were stolen.

Surveillance video of the theft shows at least 10 teens or young adults running inside the dealership after smashing a window. Minutes later, they speed off the lot.

Witnesses reported seeing several cars with dealer license plates driving in a row on Lake Shore Drive not long after the theft.

Chicago police recovered two BMWs after they were abandoned on Lake Shore Drive near Fullerton Avenue.

The dealership's owner said a total of three BMWs and a silver 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo have been located using GPS trackers. A white BMW X3 was still missing late Friday morning.

No one was in custody Friday morning.

Police said two cars were stolen from the same dealership last month, and were recovered. In that case, the cars were stolen during business hours, when keys were left inside the cars.

In November, thieves stole nine cars from Mike Anderson Chevrolet in the Portage Park neighborhood in Chicago.

Last week, thieves struck two dealerships in Naperville, stealing a total of at least six luxury vehicles from an Infinity dealer and a Jaguar dealer.

According to a published report, more than 100 cars have been stolen from dealerships in the Chicago area in the past six months. In some cases, police have made arrests; typically, the suspects were teenagers or young adults.

Police have not linked the heists to one organized group.

"That's something that the detectives will be looking at; whether they're related, as far as the same crew doing it, or whether it's just a new method that individuals are using," Evanston Police Cmdr. Joe Dugan said.

All the thefts and break-ins have area dealerships beefing up security.

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