CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police are searching for as many as four young men who are on a cell phone robbery spree in the Loop, Streeterville and on the Magnificent Mile.
As CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, their technique is brazen.
They enter a restaurant, spot a diner’s phone on a tabletop — and then go to work. They surround the table and tell the victim they are collecting money for their basketball team. During the confusion, they place a flier on the table on top of the cell phone. After their pitch, one of them picks up the flier – scooping up the cell phone with it – and the thieves high-tail it out the door.
“We’re all paying a lot of money for our cell phones. You wouldn’t put $300 on the table and not pay attention to it,” Chicago Police Sgt. Laurence Coleman told reporters Thursday.
The thieves are said to be males between 14 and 25, wearing skull caps and hooded jackets. They were seen fleeing in a tan, four-door sedan, perhaps a Buick.
The spree began at a Chipotle restaurant on North Michigan Avenue on New Year’s Eve. The suspects laid low until Wednesday, when they hit three more restaurants: Panera in Streeterville, a Loop McDonald’s and finally a Starbucks in Streeterville.
Is it possible they’ll hit again?
“They know they can turn these phones over to a pawn shop and get a couple hundred bucks — like that,” Sgt. Coleman says.
There was a similar string of thefts in the Gold Coast neighborhood in September. Several members of that group were arrested.