CHICAGO — Police are searching for a group of thieves who stole several high-end vehicles from a Northwest Side auto body shop earlier this week.
Surveillance video shows an SUV parked in an alley behind the business and multiple offenders exit the vehicle together, lifting the secure garage door.
“They overpowered the door, they had 6 of them and they just lifted it so hard that the latch bent,” said Eddie Zipperstein, owner of Richard’s Body Shop on West Lawrence Avenue.
The thieves then run through the shop searching for keys to the high-end vehicles. One offender locates a box that previously held all the keys to cars being serviced.
“They took all the keys and started trying to figure out which cars which,” Zipperstein said.
The thieves made off with six luxury vehicles, two from inside the shop and four from the lot across the street.
The heist started around 6 a.m. and a few minutes before the first employee came in for work.
“He showed up at 6:45 in the morning and he calls me and says the backdoor is open and there’s a revving truck in the alley.”
Zipperstein told WGN News he quickly checked the surveillance system on his phone and saw what happened. He then called the police and contacted the customers whose vehicles were taken.
“Most were pretty understanding,” he said.
Zipperstein says the attack threatens his business as customers rely on him to keep their vehicles safe.
“You’re leaving me pretty much the second biggest investment you ever made, your house and then your car,” he said.
Five of the six stolen vehicles have since been recovered and undamaged, leaving Zipperstein to wonder what the thieves were hoping to gain. But the business says he doesn’t plan to find out, as he has upped security with additional locks, cameras, an alarm system and motion sensors.
No one is in custody.
Police continue to investigate.