Car thieves struck again in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood Tuesday morning, stealing several vehicles.
The I-Team obtained an exclusive look at a video depicting the latest attack in progress, in which the brazen bandits drive away with a half dozen high-end vehicles, leaving their owners in the dust.
It’s the latest in a string of thefts at auto repair shops on Chicago’s Northwest Side, in what appears to be a well-planned invasion of body shop snatchers.
Precision strikes are carried out by teams of masked thieves, who target luxury vehicles undergoing repairs.
The thieves struck early Tuesday morning, according to Eddie Zipperstein, owner of Richard’s Body Shop at 3041 West Lawrence Avenue in Chicago. The crime in progress was captured on security cameras.
“I saw six guys went underneath the door and jammed it open and ran inside and were just looking thorough the shop drove off with two cars from the office,” Zipperstein explained. “and then they took keys from the key box back there and went into the parking lot across the street and took another four cars.”
The Chicago Police Department issued the following statement regarding the coordinated theft:
“Offenders gained entry through the back garage door of a business in the 3000 block of W. Lawrence. The offenders stole vehicles from the business after removing keys from a key box. The vehicles used were an Infinity QX60 and a Toyota Highlander. They then went across the street to the same business’s property and used an SUV to knock down a fence before stealing a Range Rover Evoque and an Infiniti Q50. Nobody is being held. Detectives are looking into it.”
The thieves appear to prefer cars with minimal damage.
Shanda, who requested that her last name not be used, owns the 2015 Range Rover that was stolen from the outdoor lot. She is concerned that she will never see her car again.
“They appear to have done this before. You can tell they were well-organized. It took them less than a minute to break into the shop and steal the keys, and they knew where the other cars were parked “She stated.
Last month, stick-wielding thieves targeted one auto body shop in Irving Park, while in early November, an armed team of hooded car poachers boosted several luxury vehicles in seconds in Albany Park.
Last month alone, five auto body shops were targeted, prompting a Chicago police alert.
Shanda is irritated that the crimes continue.
“I’m not sure what to say; it just seems like the thieves are constantly doing this and there are no consequences. You know, and you all grow up and decide you should work. You should go to school and get an education so that you can afford the things you want and thus be taken. You’re aware that it’s unacceptable. And something must be done immediately.”
CPD officials have refused to say whether or not they are taking steps to prevent future heists.
Three of the cars stolen on Tuesday have now been recovered; two were easily located due to GPS tracking installed by the owners.
Zipperstein stated that his shop’s garage door has been reinforced and that all car keys will now be kept in a safe. He also informed the I-Team that a security system flaw discovered had been resolved.