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Sports Retailer Takes Steps To Deter Flash Robberies

(CBS) – The Sports Authority retail chain is making changes to deter the type of robberies that have plagued Chicago-area stores.

CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker reports.

In one surveillance video, a group of robbers were able to snatch $6,500 worth of high-priced Starter jackets in less than 20 seconds at a Frankfort store.

The jackets, sporting the logos of popular teams, go for $150 each.

Police believe the game group, with a few more thugs, got away with another $6,500 worth of loot at the Sports Authority in Lakeview.

A hit caught on tape in Burbank was smaller. Thieves dragged the racks out the door, but the jackets were chained to them. They only got away with two.

"They know what they're looking for. They want to get in and out quickly," Peter Gill of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association tells CBS 2's Brad Edwards. "This isn't your typical shoplifter."

The jackets will no longer be displayed prominently at the front of the stores.

Clerks say they've been moved to the back, with only three or four on a rack. Customers now have to ask for the jackets and wait for clerks to bring them up from the storage.

It's all to protect customers.

If you have information about the robberies, here is a toll-free hotline to reach police agencies collaborating on the investigation: (877) 872-6959.

Sports Authority is offering a $5,000 reward.

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