CHICAGO — Chicago police have arrested a man who may be responsible for smashing a series of car windows in the Loop.
Police said nearly 50 cars were damaged in total.
Veronica Bermudez said the alleged vehicle vandal was walking down Wells Street near River City and the Sears Tower at around 10 a.m. and approached many cars.
“He actually was walking by to each car and grabbing the doorknobs and trying to open it,” she said. “He had stuff in his mouth. He was shaking. I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to approach myself to him.”
She told nearby security guards and soon police were on the scene.
By 10:30 a.m. the suspect was taken into custody near the intersection of Polk Street and Wells Street, where at least three cars’ rear windows were smashed.
In total, 47 vehicles have been vandalized in three separate incidents this week.
Chicago police say 17 cars were damaged at the 12-story Adams and Wabash self-park garage early Thursday morning. Chunks of concrete were found on floor mats and broken glass littered the pavement.
Authorities are investigating the possibility that the man may be the same person responsible for a series of similar crimes in Brookfield in mid-june.
“There were a number of vehicles struck from objects from the area itself bricks, landscaping pavers things you could pick up as you’re moving along,” Lt. Michael Kuruvilla of the Brookfield Police Dept. said.
On June 13 and 14, Brookfield police said a 29-year-old homeless man damaged nearly two dozen cars in a similar way. They were able to arrest him through the help of witnesses, surveillance video and Chicago police.
“It was towards the end of June that Chicago police called us,” Kuruvilla said. “They had gotten him in custody for a number of similar crimes in their town. They then turned him over to us.”
Brookfield police said that man has a lengthy criminal record with nine prior arrests for criminal damage to property. Similar incidents were reported in June in North Riverside and La Grange.
Chicago police have not announced charges for the man.
Area Central detectives are continuing to investigate.