Chicago Police Warn Businesses Of Smash-And-Grab Thefts

CHICAGO (AP) — Police are alerting businesses in Chicago to recent thefts of purses at retail shops.

Five thefts have been reported between Oct. 22 and Nov. 19 along North Michigan Avenue and North Rush Street involving up to 10 teens or young adults who enter and leave quickly, police said Friday in a release.

The thieves flee in vehicles, most of which were reported stolen.

Friday evening, three men walked into a Foot Locker in Chicago’s West Elsdon neighborhood and tossed merchandise into trash bags before fleeing, WBBM-TV reported.

Smash-and-grab crimes at high-end stores are rising in some parts of the country. Groups of people -- often masked and dressed in black -- smash windows and display cases then snatch as many items as possible before running out to waiting vehicles.

Stores throughout San Francisco’s Bay Area have been hit this month as thieves, some carrying crowbars and hammers, smashed glass cases and window displays, stealing jewelry, sunglasses, suitcases and other merchandise.

Those thefts are believed to be part of sophisticated criminal networks that recruit mainly young people to steal merchandise in stores throughout the country then sell it in online marketplaces.