CHICAGO (CBS) — Burglars hit several businesses on the Near Northwest Side early Wednesday – and police are not ready to connect the cases, but the similarities cannot be ignored.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, one restaurant that was already hit hard by COVID-19 has now been left to clean up the mess left behind by thieves.
The owners of El Metro restaurant at 1959 W. Chicago Ave. said the burglars who busted down the door and stole the atm knew what they were doing. They had tools to steal the ATM and were in and out within minutes.
Hours later, glass was still on the floor.
“First of all, we don’t have a door,” said El Metro co-owner Beatriz Andrews.
The door had to be boarded up. Meanwhile, holes were left in the wood inside after an ATM was ripped out.
“Our ATM machine, the POS (point-of-sale) system with drawer with the money, a couple iPads,” Andrews said.
The crew busted through the front door of the Ukrainian Village restaurant. They got away in a gray sport-utility vehicle with the ATM, cash, and other electronics – a haul of about $5,000.
Andrews said she believes the burglars targeted the business.
The unexpected losses amount to just another blow to the small business trying to stay alive in the pandemic.
“We were thinking that everything was going to be better, but now we have to pay for the door,” Andrews said. “These things happen. Like, we cannot say just because of one incident, we are going to fail.”
But if things couldn’t get worse, massive icicles came crashing down during the thaw – crushing the air conditioner and bringing down power lines in the process.
Just a couple miles away, police are looking for a crew of four people who busted the front door the El Yunque Food & Liquor store at California Avenue and Cortland Street. They also took off in a gray SUV with the ATM, liquor, and cigarettes.
Chicago Police investigating at least two other nearby burglaries – one in the 2400 block of West North Avenue and another in the 2800 block of North Western Avenue – with striking similarities, such as that gray SUV getaway car.
Back at El Metro, Andrews said, “What we are going to do right now is just try and keep working try to make it.”
Chicago police said it is too early Wednesday night to determine a link between all of the burglaries, but they are looking at the possibility.
El Metro hopes to be back open on Thursday. They have also started an online fundraiser, which you can find here.