Cell phone thefts at Mag Mile restaurants on the rise again

Cell phone thefts at Mag Mile restaurants on the rise again: Alert

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Police are warning diners at restaurants around Michigan Avenue downtown that if young men come up to you trying to raise money for their sports team, you may want to grab your cell phone -- before thieves do.

Police in the Central and Near North districts issued a business alert Thursday to let the businesses and their patrons know of an increase in thefts of cell phones in the past few days.

Sergeant Lawrence Coleman says the group knows exactly who to target.

"They act as if they are soliciting contributions for their basketball league," Coleman says. "They have fliers in their hand and they put them on top of the table, on top of a cell phone and talk to the victim and then as they are leaving, they grab the fliers back with the cell phone in hand.

Since Monday, they've struck four times, including a Chipotle Mexican Grill on North Michigan, a McDonalds on North Fairbanks and a Starbucks on East Ontario. The addresses are:

  • In the 300 block of North Michigan Avenue on Dec. 31 at 4:50 p.m.;
  • the 600 block of North Fairbanks Court on Jan. 2 at 5:45 p.m.;
  • the 100 block of North Wabash Avenue on Jan. 2 at 6:10 p.m.; and
  • the 400 block of East Ontario Street on Jan. 2 at 8:40 p.m.

A Starbucks employee says the victim of one theft chased the suspect out the Starbucks and injured his hand after trying to get his cell phone back by punching a hole in the window of the get away car. The suspects got away with his phone.

"It's not the first time, it's happened here at this Starbucks before when I have been here as well as our business next door - its' happened more often than we realize," Coleman explains.

The thieves, described only as black males between 14 and 25, are said to have been working in a group, leaving in a tan 4-door hardtop car, possibly a Buick, with unknown plates.

 

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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