CHICAGO (CBS) — Burglars this week used rocks and even a sport-utility vehicle to smash their way into auto body shops on the city’s Northwest Side.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, one of the burglaries was caught on camera during a string of auto shop break-ins this week.
Chicago Police returned Friday night to Unibody Auto Collision, 3623 W. Fullerton Ave. They had the panes of their garage doors knocked out by a rock, and their main office door completely flipped upside down.
Right after the burglary, there were broken windows and shattered glass all over the office at Unibody Auto Collision, 3623 W. Fullerton Ave. The office was ransacked, and the drawers were ripped open.
“It’s very difficult for me to get out from these things,” said Tajammul Sayed of Unibody.
Surveillance video from overnight Thursday into Friday shows maroon and white sport-utility vehicles pulling up to the Logan Square auto body shop. A couple of masked burglars got out – one of them with a rock.
That rock went through the main office door. The video shows the burglars helping themselves inside – and then quickly rummaging through papers in a frantic search for car keys.
They were able to get away with the owner’s car.
The shop was hit in a similar fashion back in November.
“They went to search for the keys and stuff. They looked here and there for the keys,” Sayed said, “and they found – they took four keys for my cars.”
About 20 minutes before the Unibody burglary Thursday night, the same maroon and white SUV backed into Jordan Automotive, at 3869 W. Grand Ave. near the intersection with Division Street. The thieves used the white car to smash through the garage.
“They were pretty young, real mobile,” said Mohammed Maaitah of Jordan Automotive. “They came in here, looking on the wall – the typical places where mom-and-pop shops have their keys.”
They ran through the garage with guns.
“They have guns in their hand – handguns – and they were running through the shop with them,” Maaitah said.
The crew ripped through the office of that shop as well – looking for keys. They ran away emptyhanded – possibly spooked by an alarm – but the damage was done.
“It’s a disruption of business; a really bad inconvenience – and alone in repairs, a little bit over 10 grand,” said Maaitah, “and for a mom-and-pop business, every penny counts.”
Chicago Police said multiple autobody shops on the West and Northwest sides were burglarized this week. Besides Unibody and Jordan Automotive, the other businesses targeted were Luxury Auto Tech, 5143 W. Grand Ave., and an automotive business at 4609 W. Belmont Ave. that was targeted twice.
Most were hit within a matter of minutes.
“It’s my second home,” Maaitah said. “For someone to come in here and try to, let alone take something from us and hurt the business.”
The owner of Unibody said his stolen car had a tracker, so he was able to lead police to the car and recover it.