Chicago mayor accuses retailers of not doing enough to tackle organized theft

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has slammed retailers for not making safety a priority amid a spate of crush thefts from retail stores in recent months.

“We still have retailers who won’t institute plans like having security guards in their stores, making sure they have cameras that are actually operational, locking their merchandise at night, stringing high end bags together. These handbags can be anything that attracts a lot of organized retail theft units, ”Lightfoot said Monday.

Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said Chicago businesses needed “executive fingerprints to stop.”

“Comments that retailers need to do more are sadly misinformed. I think that ignores the fact that retailers spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on security… We’re not going to put the whole store behind windows or locked up. . Retail doesn’t work that way, ”Karr told FOX Business.

“We have a fine line to go. I don’t think the mayor wants a line of armed personnel in every store.”

Plywood covers the windows of an Omega store in Chicago. (REUTERS / Moe Zoyari)

Groups of masked looters have stormed stores in orchestrated plots to steal thousands of dollars in merchandise in downtown Chicago and the city’s suburbs.

More than ten people raided a Louis Vuitton store at Oakbrook Center in west Chicago last month, taking $ 120,000 in luxury goods before fleeing in three separate cars, one of which was stolen.

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The Chicago Police Department sent an alert to businesses in north Chicago on Black Friday after seven crash flights occurred in the course of about three weeks. He warned of violators forcibly entering “through a front or side door by smashing the door glass with a pry tool” and then stealing property.

Last Thursday, nine people broke into a store along Michigan Avenue, resulting in the arrest of a single offender, a 16-year-old boy who was charged with one count retail flight.

A security guard stands outside a Nordstrom store on November 23, 2021.

A security guard stands outside a Nordstrom store on November 23, 2021 (AP Photo / Eugene Garcia, File)

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul created the Retail Organized Crime Task Force to try to tackle the robberies.

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The working group search warrants executed Friday in eight storage units and salvaged millions of dollars worth of clothing, cosmetics, electronics and other merchandise.

“Organized retail theft is not just about lost income and stolen goods,” Raoul said on Friday. “Frequently, the criminal enterprises behind these crimes are linked to other crimes, such as drug trafficking and human trafficking. I agree to identify the perpetrators of this and other organized retail crimes in Illinois. “

Shoppers leave a Nordstrom store on May 26, 2021 in Chicago.

Shoppers leave a Nordstrom store on May 26, 2021 in Chicago. (Scott Olson / Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Karr said retail thefts not only hurt the viability of businesses, but also reduced government tax revenues and made shoppers fearful during the holiday season.

“Criminals take advantage of the weakest links, and right now Chicago seems to be the weakest link, as the very leaders who should be tackling this problem with us are fighting among themselves over who is to blame. “, did he declare.


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