By Charlie De Mar October 26, 2023 / 10:40 PM / CBS Chicago
The crime is called a ram-and-raid or a crash-and-grab. Stores are being targeted by burglars who use a car to break in.
As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported Thursday night, crash-and-grabs happen at incredibly high speeds – and end in a violent crash. This week, there have been at least five stores targeted – mostly high-end sneaker and streetwear shops.
Crews at Unique, at 1839 S. State St. in the South Loop, spent the day cleaning up their damaged storefront after a car broke through the security door early Thursday – allowing burglars easy access.
The Louis Vuitton store at 919 N. Michigan Ave. on the Magnificent Mile was targeted early Wednesday. Fresh tire marks were still there a day later.
Surveillance video from overnight also shows what is believed to be a stolen car ramming into the front of Boneyard Chicago, at 1102 N. Ashland Ave. in West Town.
"We spent $2,500 to put concrete barricades in front of store, and the alderman had a problem with that," said Jacob, the owner of Boneyard.
Jacob previously installed concrete barriers outside his sneaker store to prevent such crime because his store had been hit before. But without a permit, he was forced to remove the barriers from the sidewalk.
"If they're going to help us, they could at least allow us to protect ourselves," Jacob said. Robert Reiter, cofounder of the Storefront Safety Council, collects data on storefront crashes. "It's hard to get the city to give up control of the sidewalk to put in real-live barriers that will actually stop a vehicle," he said.
Reiter says dispensaries, gun stores, and sneaker resellers should all be on alert. "Guns and sneakers and consumer products turn into cash literally overnight," he said. "There are more of these happening every night in America than I've ever seen. I think it's more than 100 a night."
The Endless Supply sneaker store at 750 N. Franklin St. in River North was also boarded up Thursday, after a car rammed through it on Tuesday morning.
In the five ram-and-raids so far this week, no arrests have been made.
"These are crimes of opportunities," said Reiter. "All you really need is two stolen vehicles and a bunch of not-very-bright kids."