Cell phone theives on rise in Gold Coast

Calling all Loyola University Chicago students dining near the Water Tower Campus in Chicago’s Gold Coast: Cell phone thieves are on the prowl.

Chicago Police are searching for as many as four young men who are on a cell phone robbery spree in the Loop, Streeterville and on the Magnificent Mile, according to CBS-2 Chicago.

As CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, their technique is brazen:

They enter a restaurant, spot a diner’s phone on a tabletop — and then go to work. They surround the table and tell the victim they are collecting money for their basketball team. During the confusion, they place a flier on the table on top of the cell phone. After their pitch, one of them picks up the flier – scooping up the cell phone with it – and the thieves high-tail it out the door.

The thieves are said to be males between 14 and 25, wearing skull caps and hooded jackets. They were seen fleeing in a tan, four-door sedan, perhaps a Buick.

The spree began at a Chipotle restaurant on North Michigan Avenue on New Year’s Eve. The suspects laid low until Wednesday, when they hit three more restaurants: Panera in Streeterville, a Loop McDonald’s and finally a Starbucks in Streeterville.

There was a similar string of thefts in the Gold Coast neighborhood in September.  Several members of that group were arrested.

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