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Chicago, suburbs work to fight robberies, burglaries, fencing operations

Police in Chicago, Cook County step up efforts against retail theft and robbery
Police in Chicago, Cook County step up efforts against retail theft and robbery 02:58

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Police said they plan to lean into technology like license plate readers and POD cameras to catch those behind a big uptick in robberies and burglaries.

The announcement by police officials Friday came just hours after several early-morning thefts, including a smash-and-grab robbery at a Lululemon store at 944 W. North Ave.

But the problem isn't just in Chicago. The Cook County Sheriff's office is also trying to make a dent.

The sheriff's office shared exclusive video to CNN showing a group of thieves entering a beauty supply store and filling large trash bags with expensive products – all within a period of one minute.

It is one of numerous examples of organized retail theft – a large-scale operation in which a group of people steal goods and turn around to sell them.

The problem is recurring to the point that the sheriff's office has created a task force to combat it.

In a ride-along with CNN, deputies zeroed in on five locations of a suspected theft ring – arresting two people and recovering almost $500,000 in stolen merchandise.

At a Tinley Park home just days ago, officers carried boxes upon boxes of products out.

Meanwhile back in the city of Chicago, officers are cracking down on the same problem – as well as burglaries to businesses, such as an ATM theft that was caught on camera earlier this week at a gas station at Ashland and Grand avenues in West Town.

On Friday, Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling – along with Mayor Brandon Johnson – discussed a plan to address robberies and car thefts plaguing the city.

"Our plan is to focus on prevention, to make sure others do not have to endure such trauma," said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Antoinette Ursitti. "But to be clear, when these crimes do occur, we will identify and hold accountable the perpetrators who have caused harm."

"We're doing everything in our power to hold the offenders of these crimes accountable," Snelling said. "Our officers are risking their own safety to apprehend these violent criminals."

"Everyone in every neighborhood deserves to feel safe walking down the street, commuting to work, and enjoying life in our wonderful city," added Mayor Johnson. "The plan focuses on four pillars - technology, focus missions, public engagement, and accountability."

Chicago Police said their task force has made 80 arrests and recovered 140 vehicles that were stolen or carjacked.

The Chicago anti-crime plan includes using technology to catch suspects, and working with the community to solve and prevent crime.

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