CHICAGO (CBS) — A trendy, and expensive, winter fashion is becoming the target of armed robbers in Chicago: Canada Goose coats.

At least six times in just eight days, offenders have confronted victims and forced them to turn over their jackets.  In each case, the victims were robbed at gunpoint, police say.

 

Canada Goose coats retail from around $500 to $1,200 on the company’s website.

“It keeps me extremely warm,” said Ariel Soldatov, who owns a Canada Goose coat. “I don’t have to bundle up as much and the hood tunnels me completely with fur.”

“It’s the warmth,” said Howard o’Toole, another Canada Goose coat owner. “It’s a really functional high quality jacket.”

Most recently, on Wednesday, a man was confronted by two men with guns, who demanded the victim’s jacket. The robbery occurred to the 200 block of West Cullerton at 8:42 p.m. The offenders, described as two black men in their early to mid-20s, fled in a light-colored sedan, driving southbound on Wentworth.

A second robbery happened Wednesday in the 2100 block of China Place.  The robbery was captured on surveillance tape. In it,  two suspects attacked the victim and after a brief struggle, pulled off his jacket and then got into a white Mercedes.

Two more happened  on Jan. 17, one in the 900 block of North Wells and the other in the 900 block of North Larrabee.

On Jan. 15 armed robbers targeted victims in the 5300 block of South Cornell Avenue around 10:45 p.m. and the near State and Chestnut around 11:03 p.m. In those cases, the suspects, two black males in dark hooded jackets, jeans and ski masks, drove up in a dark Audi sedan and demanded the coats.

“I guess you take your chance don’t you? You’ve spent the money on an expensive jacket. I guess you’re nervous you’re going to be a target,” o’Toole said.

The rash of robberies has some owners of Canada Goose coats thinking twice about wearing them.

“I actually was just shopping, and I was looking for a coat that was a little less expensive just in case something like that was going to happen,” Terry Kraus said. “It’s disappointing that I saved up a lot of money to get this coat, and now I’m not even able to enjoy it.”

But other owners of the high-end coats say they’re not surprised criminals are targeting people wearing them.

“I guess you take your chance don’t you? You’ve spent the money on an expensive jacket. I guess you’re nervous you’re going to be a target,” o’Toole said.

O’Toole removed the patch from his coat because he didn’t like the idea of giving Canada Goose free advertising, but now he says there’s an added benefit of making him less of a target for criminals.

He thinks others should consider removing the patch too.

“Why not? I mean you’re still left with a good jacket,” he said.

But since the patch and logo are so easily recognized as Canada Goose, it’s part of what attracts some people to the products.

“Hell no I paid too much for it to remove that,” Kraus said

But Kraus is taking other precautions.

“Keeping aware of my surroundings and also just kind of staying in well trafficked areas,” he said.

There have been no arrests in any of the robberies, so Chicago police are encouraging people to be aware of their surroundings.

Last year,  the luxury winter coat company, moved to crack down on counterfeiters that were cutting into its market.

The Toronto-based manufacturer filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago, aimed at Chinese counterfeiters that sell fake Canada Goose goods across hundreds of unauthorized websites.