Mag Mile Shops On Alert After Flash Mob Thefts

CHICAGO (CBS) – Stores on the Mag Mile are on alert after several thefts involving flash mobs. In each case, a group of teens create a disturbance, steal items and then run from the stores.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports in the past several weeks, there have been at least three incidents on Michigan Avenue. Sources tell CBS 2 the teens involved are between 17 and 13 years old.

Apparently they’ve been Tweeting each other. They pick a spot to meet and then go as groups to carry out their crimes. It’s all part of a growing phenomenon.

You can see mob robbery videos on YouTube. In one tape, 50 teens are seen entering a St. Paul, Minnesota convenience store. Within minutes they take whatever they want and leave. The same thing has been happening in Chicago along the Magnificent Mile. Sources said Filene’s Basement, The North Face store and Express have all been recent targets by these flash mobs.

“Just see kids, random kids running out of stores,” said witness Miralem Mahmatovic.

Mahmatovic said it’s been obvious the teens seen running, have had merchandise with them. He said he has seen a teen theft mob in action. “We had a cop from Express chase down a kid here once, just chased her, caught her down at the corner, so we’ve seen it a couple of times.”

At Express, sources said 11 teens stormed through the doors knocking over merchandise and alarming customers. Security tried to lock the doors and when police caught the teens, they also had merchandise with them from other stores.

Greater North Michigan Avenue Association President and CEO John Chikow said he organized a meeting Tuesday with law enforcement and representatives from about 70 stores along the Mag Mile. “The police gave a briefing as to what their current activities are. I think there’s a stronger commitment on the part of the businesses to call when there are problems because they’re seeing the police are responding very quickly,” Chikow said.

At Filene’s, teens ran onto the sales floor, grabbed items then ran out. At The North Face, they entered screaming and yelling, knocking over displays and grabbing clothes worth close to $3,000.

“We’re not gonna tolerate this in the district. We’re just not gonna tolerate it,” Chikow said.

Police have increased patrols and are also focusing in on areas identified as teen meeting points. The moment a large group is seen gathering in a known area, the teens are told they will be arrested for loitering and will be arrested if they don’t leave immediately.

The teens involved in the recent theft mob incidents have been charged with retail theft and reckless conduct. The North Face, Filene’s and Express, all had no comment.

  • romo

    All right zipper, fair enough.

  • Erik Peterson


  • Debbie

    At the end of the day, regardless of race.. they should still post that kind of information.

    • My thoughts

      …they were all “honor students” would have their GED in nine months…..or they were the hard working “dream act” youths that will enroll in collage ..ha 99% of them have a 3rd graders reading skills…..

  • Debbie

    Not even. If they did it once, they are more likely to commit those crimes again. Race, much like age and genders, should be disclosed. The more information we are given, the more we can help society and each other out in times of crises.

  • romo

    Debbie, a woman after my own heart. Good sense.

  • Charlotte Taylor

    People forget your race issues. For the first time ever, I was afraid for my safety on the Mag Mile when a group of black, yes they were all black and looked like tough gang members.they hounded an older woman at the Water Tower. These thugs were lingering at the escalters waiting for her and it was clear they were trying to rob her. She had gone into the jewellery store where i was and I heard her say that they had been following her since the parking. As I walked down Michigan Ave I felt as if there were lots of young similar looking men walking around looking around and I felt like a walking target. The cops need to get tougher with these types of criminals that are now roaming the streets of what used to be a safe shopping district.

    • Disgusted

      Missy — you are so right. It has nothing to do with being a racist, BUT which
      race is commiting these crimes? Unforunatley they are black.
      As it stands, the whites are getting so fed up with all of this garbage, it has to stop. It absolutely shows they have NO respect for anyone– and certainly not themselves. They feel they are owed and do not have to respect anyone or anything. IFor the sake of everyone, black, whites and whatever, our
      President needs to step up to the plate and demand that parents take the responsibility for these kid’s. Parents has to know when their child has on a new outfit that they did not buy it for them. How sad is this?? He is also
      making this a race issue……..thats why these kid’s think they can get by with it.

    • Donald Ross

      I remember when Water Tower, Oak Street, and even Rush Street were elegant respectable places. It’s certainly not white people who turned these areas into the New Cabrini Green.

  • Debbie

    It’s a common drug-dealing place.

  • Tony Smith

    You people are all idiots…

    • romo

      C’mon Tony, you can do better than that. Please enlighten us.

  • Will P

    Just saw a bunch run off the Red Line at Lawrence earlier today. Now I know what hey were up to. Seems like this is a Spring ritual, the Gang Fights will be next. Where are these kids parents? P.S,: CPD, if you’re looking for them, they all live in the Wilson/Hazel area.

    • Mike

      Come on! This is just a bunch of kids having alittle fun. No one got hurt.

      • Real Americanr

        sounds like what obama says as he continues his American economy/culture killing agenda

      • Gunsmoke

        You must be a thug yourself.

      • Bill

        I hope you’re joking. Because no where is it ok to steal.

    • jnsesq

      Parents? We’re the parents. Who do you think pays to feed and house these breeding savages?

  • Mary Mitchell

    I love people of color !
    ( but , I’m not shoppin down there ! )


      I’m not shopping down there either but it is not out of fear of kids robbing stores. It is fear of tourists and their diseases, they should be banned from the Mag Mile so us urban dwellers can enjoy it. WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

  • JeanSC

    The first time I heard the term “flash mob” was in an October 11, 2004 episode of “CSI: Miami” called “Murder in a Flash.” Obviously, it was connected to a crime, not fun or a protest. From the TV story, the people in these theft mobs didn’t look like stereotypical customers of these stores. Reason for close observation.

  • Worried Human

    I think the point is that …. THEY AREN’T WHITE! All these stories and videos are of BLACK people doing this! If it was a bunch of white people you would have a point, but you don’t.

    It’s awful that we are supposed to speak the truth in the country but not when it comes to identifing groups of people based on race …. even though there is proof of such.

    • Jose

      This has become just another problem endemic to the black culture. It is an extension of the prevailing entitlement mentality that has been nurtured by the white bleeding-heart liberals in this country and embraced by a large segment of the black population. We need to treat these miscreants as we do organized crime, charge them with conspiracy to commit mayhem and theft, terrorism, and any other law that applies, and hold them up as examples to the rest of the young criminals-in-training contemplating similar actions as to what the consequences will be for their anti-social behavior. This may finally show the entire country that deviant behavior by teens or adults will not be tolerated by our society, and that yes, actions have consequences.

  • AJ

    Unfortunate that in Chicago law abiding citizens cannot carry a concealed firearm. It would only take a couple self defense examples to slow the madness.

    • Marine13

      You are correct. We don’t get flash mobs in AZ, a large number of people “carry” here. They would end up with multiple wounds. Like shooting fish in a barrel….

      • atreb56

        As an AZ resident, both Tucson and El Con malls have had trouble with youth or gangs. Packing heat didn’t stop these incidents. AZ can’t even get gov’t to stop illegals even by begging. What a sorry state or should I say State of affairs?


      Yep, killing people for shoplifting that is the society I hope to live in one day. I hear Sharia law is nice this time of year.

    • conjuice

      Amen brother!

  • Gee-reg

    It’s amazing how the flash mob is all black kids but the picture shows all white people !!!!!

  • zef

    Hmmm, I don’t think the issue is about the race or ethnicity of the kids, but the fact that they think this is a cool thing to do, I was a teen back in the 70’s and this is something that me and my friends would have never though of doing, sure we got in to other kinds of mischief, but running into a shopping mall as a crazed mob and looting shops wasn’t even on the radar, and the fact that the kids use technology to plan these crime is a very BIG worry, until now it’s been about disturbing the peace or stealing, but sooner or later it’s going to be about violence.

  • Frank

    Every post here misses the point. Color is not the issue. PARENTING is. Who is raising kids to behave like this? Why don’t those kids have a sense of right and wrong? Until society holds parents responsible for their out of control kids, and levy harsh penalties towards them, society is doomed to be ruled by the thugs.

    • John

      We’ve spent the last 40 years listening to people like you parrot the same thing. You can’t hold the parents responsible or they’ll cry racist! Schools don’t dare upset the parents of these kids. Heck, I saw some “parents” bullying store clerks in a grocery store last week. And that same night, I saw one of the parents walking down an isle cussing while her two sons walked behind here. That was the first time I ever felt nervous at that grocery store!!!

  • ZuZu

    Every time a biggot comments on a news story post, a racist angel gets its wings!

  • conjuice

    Why warn them? What the heck are the shop owners going to do? They can’t defend themselves in the city of Chicago! They are just sitting targets and just have to let themselves be victimized. Criminals absolutely know this, that is exactly why the rule the city.

    Cops doing something about it? You kidding me? Their hands are tied. They can’t do anything to protect the city without being called racists. The entire population of Chicago are absolute slaves to the criminals. The only thing you can do is just hope you don’t run into one.

    • Karl

      Shop owners should have a large can or two of RAID Wasp&Hornet killer real handy. It shoots a stream about thirty feet. Very effective.

  • city lady

    Thanks for the warning. I’ll be in the Chicago area in a couple of weeks and was planning a visit to the American Girl tore with my granddaughter. Scratch that.

  • Hank Warren

    Diversity (and all its benefits), yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

  • Peter

    Viruses eventually burn themselves out.

    • Karl

      They mutate.

  • Tom

    Frank is right. Parenting is a big issue. The problem is that kids do not answer to anybody. Blacks are higher concentrations of single parent homes but other ethnic groups are catching up. We need to face the fact that our pop culture is raising our kids to believe that anything goes. Selfishness reigns supreme. We are all capable of this type of behavior if we were not restrained by belief in God, or fear of consequences.

  • sam

    This is little more than looting and at one time looters were SHOT! I think its time we bring that fix back to the street. I thank god everyday i dont live in that cesspool of Thugcago.

  • craig

    Detroit had a car jacking problem years ago, it got out of hand. Michigan made concealed weapons permits easier to get. Problems ended. Very few car jacking now

  • Veronica

    Wow. I knew Chicago was still the most racist city in the North but geez, tell us how you really feel!

    You all sound pathetic. It’s really shameful. But if blaming black people for all that’s wrong with Chicago helps you sleep at night, then go ahead.

    How are black people the problem when we’re not even half the population? Keep looking for someone else to blame the world’s problems on. Bbecause a few black people behaving badly doesn’t represent the whole race.

    We don’t judge y’all based upon the examples of President Bush, Jeffrey Dahmer, the Unabomber and the list never ends does it?

    Signed Black & Proud

    • Marine13

      Veronica — I didn’t see the diversity you speak of in the video, I saw Black! Just keep deneying the truth, that will help.

    • albaby

      You don’t have to be half the population to cause a majority of the problems, but again, you were probably “educated” by black teachers.

    • Jenny

      It has a lot less to do with race….much more to do with low income families letting their kids run wild. No one cares what color they are. However, the kids need to be identified so parents can corral these kids. The next step is the flash mob with guns.

      • James J Neary

        Here in Arizona, we see a migration of Chicago Blacks who try to bring their ‘gangsta’ culture with them. Without even looking at the video, I knew the juveniles would all be black. As a lot of you point out, it is obviously a race issue. The Black ‘leaders’ propagate the lesson that they are entitled to steal whatever they can from Whites.

    • Vanessa

      Well then black and proud, perhaps you people should get together and let the black youth know that you won’t put up with that kind of behavior. You all want to scream racism, although as a race, you do absolutely nothing to try to change the behavior of your young people. Videos of incidents like this do not lie, and it seems the overwhelming majority of those taking part in these events are black. They all possess a pack mentality with no regard for others, their safety, their rights, or their property, but we should all feel sorry for these poor and disenfranchised youth. Meanwhile, it is much easier for people like you to scream racism then to do anything to try to correct the problem. Perhaps black community leaders should step up and try to help the situation instead of sitting around on their butts stirring the racism pot and waiting to be offended by whitey on every turn.

      • Veronica

        So now you’re saying that no one in the black community is standing up? Please. There are many community leaders and many good parents. But just like in other communities, there are the parents who don’t care and the children run wild. That happens across races. There are white kids, latino kids and asian kids who also lack a regard for other people.

        Nonetheless, your comments only continue to prove that racism does exist because instead of looking at the perpetrators as individuals, you’re saying “Here these black kids go again.” That’s what makes a situation racist. That’s why racism continues to thrive & exist. That’s why black people continue to identify a sitaution as racist because that’s how other races continue to view us. We’re all criminals, theives and killers, let the news and racists tell it.

        Crime is a problem and racism is a problem. But blaming it on one race isn’t going to solve either problem.

        Still black and proud

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