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iPhone Thiefts Increase in South Loop with Holidays


A CAPS meeting on Nov. 4 for Districts 111, 112, and 113 alerted local building security managers about a]string of recent iPhone thefts in the South Loop area, and urged them to take safety precautions with the oncoming cold weather.

The iPhones are taken for their SIM cards, which are then sold at small phones-to-go type stores at strip malls on the South Side.

“We are trying to determine how many other articles are being sold in the same manner,” said officer Mary Pannick.

According to police, officers have staged thefts and traced stolen phones from the original thief to locations where they are being illegally sold, resulting in the arrest of several shop owners for selling lost or misused goods. October iPhone thefts at 160 W. Monroe led to a charge for felony theft, and a 229 W. Jackson iPhone theft led to a charge of aggravated robbery.

“Are they [police] able to go in to the stores and use the serial numbers on the phones to locate them?” asked a local building security manager. “Should owners know their serial numbers?”

According to Chicago police officer Angela Winburn-Wright, a 1st District CAPS leader, police can use the serial number to identify the phones, and doing so is helpful to the police and the individuals whose phones have been stolen. With the serial numbers of the phones, the stolen goods can be found and brought back to the owners, and can help police track the path of the stolen goods.

“Society now, everyone’s walking around with both headphones in. You have to be more conscious about what’s around you,” said Larry Strong, security manager of 2 N. LaSalle. Strong’s position as security manager places him as the man dealing with thefts and other issues discussed at the CAPS loss and theft prevention meetings.

Homelessness was also brought up at the meeting. “The homeless gather here because it’s like a candy store,” said Pannick, referring to a plethora of individuals with pocket change to spare and the heated buildings in which the homeless can stop to warm themselves. The officers made sure to mention that building security has the right to have any loitering individuals relocated via the police if they so choose, whether a person is disruptive or has outstayed their welcome.

The next CAPS meeting for Districts 111, 112, and 113 will be held in January, as meetings have been cut to bi-monthly due to a lack of officers.

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