CHICAGO (CBS) — Five teenagers have been charged with stealing armloads of clothing from a store on the Magnificent Mile, and then trespassing on CTA subway tracks as they tried to get away.

Police said a group of teenagers walked into the H&M store at 840 N. Michigan Av. around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, and swiped a large amount of merchandise.

They then ran outside, and went into the Red Line subway station at Chicago and State streets, jumped onto the tracks, and headed up the tunnel toward the Clark/Division stop.

Police officers responding to the incident were waiting for them at the Clark/Division stop and arrested five people. Red Line trains were halted for about 20 minutes as a result of the teens running through the tunnel.

Investigators took the five teens back to the H&M store, where employees identified them as the thieves.

Charges were filed against all five Friday afternoon:

  • Alonzo Hall, 18, of the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, has been charged with one count each of felony retail theft, misdemeanor trespassing, and misdemeanor aggravated assault;

    Alonzo Hall (Source: Chicago Police)

  • Keshaun Vance, 18, of Riverdale, has been charged with one count each of felony retail theft, misdemeanor trespassing, and misdemeanor possession of more than 30 grams of cannabis;

    Keshaun Vance (Source: Chicago Police)

  • Kesean Reese, 18, of the South Shore neighborhood, has been charged with one count each of felony retail theft, and misdemeanor trespassing;

    Kesean Reese (Source: Chicago Police)

  • A 16-year-old boy has been charged as a juvenile with one count each of felony retail theft and misdemeanor trespassing;
  • A 15-year-old boy has been charged as a juvenile with one count each of felony retail theft and misdemeanor trespassing.

In a separate theft about an hour later, two suspects in masks and black hats parked a black car in front of the Louis Vuitton store at 919 N. Michigan Av. They went inside and implied they had a weapon, and came out carrying handbags, a witness told Kozlov.

The witness said one suspect ran back inside and came out with more loot.

Officers later tracked the getaway car from the Louis Vuitton theft to 32nd Street and Eberhart Avenue in the Prairie Shores area. Its front tire had blown out and was shredded. Stolen merchandise was found inside. No one was in custody.

The incidents are raising some serious questions about what more should be done to stop crimes like these.

“Organized retail crime is up all over the city, and frankly, all over the county,” said Tanya Triche Dawood of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

Since the start of the year, there have been 162 retail thefts on the Near North Side. Thefts have spiked over the past four years, hitting a high of 1,497 in 2019. Last year there were 1,473 thefts.

On the Mag Mile alone, thefts, burglaries, and robberies from Jan. 1 to Feb. 13 have been on the rise since 2016, when there were 61. In 2017, there were 73 in that six-week period; in 2018, there were 103; in 2019, there were 89; and this year, there were 100.