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Burglars steal thousands worth of merchandise from Southwest Side skate shop

Thieves clean out skateboard shop with high-tech help
Thieves clean out skateboard shop with high-tech help 02:36

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Burglars targeted a skateboard shop on the city's Southwest Side and grabbed boards, shoes, and clothing.

As CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reported Thursday, the owner of the business said the merchandise was gone in minutes – and he thinks the thieves had some high tech to help get away with their loot.

The burglary happened just before 4 a.m. at Prosper Skate Shop, at 6050 S. Pulaski Rd. in the West Lawn neighborhood.

Late Thursday, a window at Prosper Skate Shop was boarded up. The owners told us thieves broke that window, entered the store, and stole at least $10,000 in skateboard equipment, clothes and shoes.

Shoes, skateboards, and broken glass were left on the sidewalk and street.

It appears a wi-fi jamming device helped the thieves in their effort.

Surveillance video from a nearby business appears to be a group of people running back and forth, several times, to a white sport-utility vehicle in the distance. Minutes later, the driver is seen the scene in front of Prosper Skate Shop.

"It sucks - the cameras literally didn't grab anything," said shop owner Homer Prosper.

Prosper says he believes the thieves used a wi-fi signal jamming device of some kind to prevent his surveillance cameras from working during the crime.

"My Blink system went off, and all I see was somebody like running out with a bunch of clothes - so I rushed over here," Prosper said. "Literally within, I don't know, a minute and a half, two minutes, they cleaned me out."

Digital forensics expert and private detective Sergio Serritella said wi-fi jamming technology, has been around for decades.

"In the past, hotels have used it to prevent unauthorized access to their wi-fi. Schools may have used it to keep students on task and not doing things on their hotspots," said Serriella, president of Vantius. "But in this case, offenders are using it to disable security cameras while they commit crimes."

"What we're really talking about is using the modern equivalent of using a can of spray paint to disable a security camera," Serriella continued. "An offender wearing one of these de-authentication devices can come on scene, and effortlessly take all of the security cameras - wireless security cameras - offline."

So how does a home or business owner protect themselves?

"The easiest and least expensive would be simply to use a wired camera," Serriella said.

Police said no one was in custody late Thursday. The owner says the thieves left something behind here at the scene.

When the window was broken, at least one of the thieves got cut, leaving a trail of blood.

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