* I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s amazing how organized this is. WTTW…
A joint task force this week recovered thousands of pieces of stolen retail items, including men’s and women’s clothing, electronics, high-end food items and beauty supplies, totaling more than $1 million in value from multiple Chicago storage containers this week, law enforcement officials announced Friday.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said members of an Organized Retail Crime Task Force and the Chicago Police Department executed search warrants at eight storage units in two Chicago locations Wednesday night, where they recovered “four semitrailers of merchandise” that had been stolen from major national retailers.
“The actual operation of these organized schemes is a lot more sophisticated than might be reflected in the commonly seen smash-and-grab group thefts,” Raoul said Friday during a press conference in Chicago. “Our goal is to disrupt the criminal enterprises that engage in the overall scheme and send a message to these criminal operations that we will identify them and end the destruction they cause to our communities.”
Though officials were light on some specifics, the seizure apparently stemmed from an unrelated gun arrest. CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said an officer arrested that suspect and discovered stolen items in their car. From there, a Chicago retail crime team was notified, as well as the AG’s task force and the items were eventually recovered.
* Some pics…
It took eight or nine hours to get all of the goods out of the storage units, Raoul said. Pictures of the recovered merchandise don’t do justice to how much was there.
“Fifteen people spending hours unloading stuff, it’s a lot of items that were recovered,” he said.
Raoul launched his task force earlier this fall, and the recovery announced Friday was its first major bust. The task force aims to bring law enforcement officials from multiple jurisdictions and levels together with retailers and internet marketplace operators to reduce such crimes. Though retailers have long dealt with theft, these coordinated, larger incidents have escalated recently.
Nationally, dollars lost to organized retail crime topped $700,000 per $1 billion in sales in 2020, up nearly 60% since 2015, according to a recent National Retail Federation report. In Illinois, shops lost $3.7 billion to $4 billion worth of merchandise to theft last year, according to the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
* ABC 7…
The bust comes as a number of smash and gran thefts continue at high-end retailers in the Chicago area.
On Thursday, Chicago police said nine people hit a Neiman Marcus store in the 700-block of North Michigan Avenue. […]
Friday morning, three suspects in a silver sedan approached a store in the Roosevelt Collection in the 1100-block of South Delano Court at about 5:55 a.m., police said. The suspects opened the door of a business and took merchandise and cash boxed before fleeingin the sedan, police said.
On Monday, thieves swarmed the Burberry store just down the street on Michigan Avenue, making off with several expensive designer purses.
* CVS, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announce use of time-delay safes to prevent pharmacy thefts