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Smash And Grab Thieves Hit Furniture Store Hours After SUV Crash

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A strange series of events unfolded at a Chicago furniture store, starting with an accident involving an SUV, and ending with a smash-and-grab heist hours later.

Furniture N More manager Naser Ali said thieves tried in vain to pry their way into the back of the store early Tuesday morning.

"They were trying to take [off] the frame of the door, so they can get in through here, but they were not successful," he said.

According to Ali, the thieves tried to get inside for more than 90 minutes before they stole three security cameras on the back roof.

Recordings from the cameras went dark one at a time shortly after 2 a.m., before anything happened. Then, around 4 a.m., one of the thieves used a brick to try to break into the front of the store on the 7100 block of South State Street. He threw the block at the glass window three times. It splintered, but didn't break. Then the thief successfully shattered the door, and the trio went inside.

One by one, they went in and nonchalantly made their way out with several flat-screen televisions.

Ali said they caused upwards of $10,000 worth of damage.

As he met with contractors to get estimates on the repair bill, Ali was concerned that his insurance company would raise his premiums; or worse yet, drop him. He said it's just another cost of doing business in Chicago.

"It is really tough. This is expected every day in some neighborhoods in Chicago. We do have some precautionary measures, but still no matter how careful you are, still some things happen," he said.

The thieves might not have been able to enter the business if the security fencing around it had not been destroyed by this an out of control SUV.

According to Ali, the elderly woman at the wheel lost control and ran over her daughter Monday afternoon. Surveillance video of that accident shows the panicked woman standing in the driver's door of SUV after hitting her daughter, when the vehicle starts to reverse toward her daughter again. Bystanders were able to pull the daughter out of the way, and the vehicle came to a stop before doing any more damage.

Anyone who recognizes the thieves should call police. No one was in custody as of late Tuesday morning.

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