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Thieves target plumbing and electrical companies in Chicago – NBC Chicago

Chicago police are warning business owners to be careful after a burglary crew was caught on surveillance video targeting electrical and plumbing companies across the city multiple times this year.

Police say the same crew is believed to be involved in at least 32 burglaries across the city, from North Center to Old Irving Park to Portage Park – all since January.

The latest break-in occurred on Mother’s Day at a hardware warehouse in the 4300 block of North Kilpatrick, authorities said.

According to police, in each case, “several offenders forced entry into businesses and work vehicles by breaking doors and windows to gain access.”

“Once inside, the offenders remove the property, including tools and equipment,” police said in their alert. “This also includes work vehicles parked at places of business and on residential streets.”

One business owner told NBC Chicago he had been targeted multiple times.

“Nothing seems to stop,” Scott Hoffman said. “Everything seems, at least, to be getting worse. »

Hoffman is the president of Fettes, Love & Sieben on the city’s north side and said thieves have broken into their building four times this year alone. His plumbers were confronted by the thieves during one of these incidents.

“Three guys approached one of my plumbers at gunpoint, walked him into our store, the store door was open,” he said. “We had another load for the day and (they) asked for tools.”

At least six of their vehicles were also targeted. Hoffman said he wasn’t sure how much the company could handle. The thieves made off with approximately $100,000 worth of tools within a few months.

“They’re so brazen, they’re not afraid of anything,” he said. “It seems like if they’re caught, which doesn’t seem to be the case, they’re immediately released.”

Another business owner told NBC Chicago they, too, have had enough.

“I have no hope that (police) will catch them,” said Wayne Weinke, vice president of Way-Ken Contractors Supply. “They wore masks, they were hooded, what are you going to do?”

Weinke said the family business has been around for 70 years and he now feels frustrated and helpless.

“We looked at the cameras and they were walking around like they owned the place, with alarms going off,” he said. “They didn’t have a care in the world.”

He and other business owners have made some safety changes. They added more cameras, gates and even concrete barriers to prevent criminals from ramming their vehicles into buildings and said they were doing everything they could to protect their bottom line.

“We are the ones who are honest businesses trying to make money and they are just destroying our business,” Hoffman said.

Police said the crew was seen driving a black 2024 Volkswagen Atlas with an Illinois license plate ED21641. They are asking anyone with information to contact area detectives at the following numbers:

(312) 744-8263

(312) 746-8253

(312) 746-7394

NBC Chicago

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