River Forest police warn of thefts
Updated: December 16, 2012 6:38AM
RIVER FOREST — Police are cautioning people shopping in the Lake Street commercial district to be attentive to their purses and other personal belongings.
The warning comes in the wake of numerous thefts over the past two months.
The thefts are occurring mostly, but not exclusively, at three businesses in the Lake Street corridor, including Whole Foods, 7225 Lake, Panera Bread, 7349 Lake, and Jewel Foods, 7525 Lake.
“No matter where you’re shopping, people need to make sure they know where their personal belongings are at all times,” River Forest Police Sgt. Mike Thornley said.
Thornley said detectives have video surveillance of numerous suspicious people exiting various businesses, but that in most cases the thief remains undetected. However, on Nov. 4, a man was chased by a witness around 5:40 p.m. after he reportedly stole an unattended purse from a shopping cart inside Jewel.
The thief tossed the purse away and fled the store.
“I’d call it a pattern, but I don’t know if it’s one specific crew,” Thornley said.
The most recent theft occurred at 11 a.m. Nov. 9. A River Forest resident told police her purse was stolen from underneath her table while she ate at Panera Bread.
Thornley said people should keep their purses and bags near them, in their lap if possible. Purses hanging on the backs of chairs and even set under chairs are easy targets. Cash and other valuables aren’t the only things thieves are interested in.
“The thieves immediately leave the (business) and immediately start using the credit cards,” Thornley said.
Besides cash, personal identification documents, credit cards and a pair of Cartier sunglasses, the victim of the latest theft had “in excess of $500” charged on her credit cards at Chicago stores.