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Thieves bust through security shutters to burglarize stores in Tri-Taylor, Hyde Park

Thieves bust through security shutters to burglarize Chicago stores 02:34

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A crew of thieves was caught on camera stealing armfuls of clothing and shoes from a business on the city's West Side.

As CBS 2's Steven Graves reported Friday, retail theft in Chicago has left many business owners are now very frustrated. The owner of the Flee Club consignment store at 2221 W. Taylor St. in Tri-Taylor is especially unhappy, as he has now been hit four times.

In the latest burglary, the thieves were not satisfied just targeting the main sales area upstairs. They went to the basement and stole shoes in boxes from racks.

All this happened even with extra security measures came place.

"I'm not a Fortune 500 business like the Mag Mile, so if you hit my store for $40,000, I won't be open tomorrow," said Flee Club owner Darris Kelly.

That, of course, is why it's devastating for Kelly to see the damage done to his store.

"It's just like they're in my house," Kelly said.

Footage taken by surveillance cameras at 3 a.m. Friday shows the guys running around and taking armloads of clothes. Someone breaks open the cash register, and they also go into the basement – where one guy took out his phone.

They later turned on the lights and stole shoes.

The thieves initially got into the store by pulling up in a black vehicle. Crowbar in hand, one guy is seen smashing glass and prying open a safety shutters.

Thieves caught on camera stealing small business owners' livelihoods 02:05

The approach is familiar to Hyde Park business owner Jonathan Swain. Thieves hit his store Kimbark Beverage Shoppe, at 1214 E. 53rd St. in Kimbark Plaza, about 40 minutes later.

He says mall cameras along 53rd Street caught a car.

"Came, pulled, did a parallel park against our curb right here - about two, three guys got out," Swain said.

The thieves in Hyde Park stole $8,000 worth high-end liquor – consisting of items Swain said are easy to resell.

Both small business owners say dealing with such thefts multiple times is tiring. Swain put up his no-damaged security shutters after the civil unrest of late May 2020.

"And then you've got the psychological things of just, you know, you've given your life to this work," Swain said.

Swain says this will continue to serve this community, but Kelly is now deciding if he wants to stay. He has already moved his store once, and now he wonders if it's worth it.

"Start a business somewhere else instead of in Chicago," Swain said. "All I'm doing is doing something for the community."

These incidents come as Chicago Police continue to attack organized retail crime aggressively. For perspective, around this time last year, there were 900 reports of retail theft – while this year, there have been 1,500.

There have been no arrests in these latest cases.


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