Smash and grab robberies — where perpetrators smash through barriers and grab valuables before escaping in a quick getaway — have become a big headline in news reports as of late, and on Tuesday morning Abt Electronics in Glenview fell victim to the latest attempt.
According to a police report, two vans (one full-size and one minivan) with four male offenders pulled into the store’s parking lot at 5:38 a.m. One of the offenders drove the full-size, silver vehicle into a set of glass doors in a receiving area of the store and all four then ran inside where they were confronted by an employee working security detail. Nothing was stolen as the group immediately ran out and fled the scene. The whole episode happened in less than 30 seconds.
No one was in custody as of Tuesday afternoon, but the incident remained under investigation. The suspects were dressed in black and wearing gloves and masks, and were “clearly recorded” by the store’s 250 surveillance cameras, according to WGN News.
“We have every entrance locked down, cameras all over the place. There’s not a blind spot anywhere, really,” Abt employee Jorge Alvarez said to CBS News, noting that there are cameras inside and outside the store, including one that records every vehicle that pulls into the parking lot.
Michael Lopez, director of financial crimes at Abt, also gave a statement to the Daily Herald.
“We have employees here 24 hours a day, so they saw our employees and ended up taking off, so the robbery was a fail,” he said. “They did not get any merchandise and no employees were hurt. We have the vehicle on camera but it did not have a license plate.”
Glenview Police, in an updated press release sent Tuesday afternoon, confirmed the one van left at the scene was in fact stolen and said no further information was being released at that time. Abt was open for business all day. Daily North Shore will continue to update this story as we receive information.
Although Chicago stores have been plagued by smash and grabs, particularly high-end boutiques on Michigan Avenue that provide items with high resale value, this is not the first time such an incident has occurred in the suburbs. Last week the Neiman Marcus in Oakbrook reported that burglars used hammers to break windows and grabbed purses and sunglasses.
That crime has been allegedly tied to a purported smash and grab ring organized by gang members that police allege has stolen more than $2 million in merchandise and caused more than $500,000 in damage over the course of 40 robberies since last fall, according to ABC News. One of them happened at the Louis Vuitton store in Northbrook Court last November. Like today’s event, the vehicles used in all of these crimes were stolen.
Police have been making progress after arrests came last week for four Chicago men: Kenneth C. Greene, 23; Jawon Sellers, 24; Tommie Adams, 22; and Hershel Phillips, 18. Police also arrested an unnamed juvenile, and identified four more men that are currently being sought: Kendrick Adams, 21; James Erwin, 34; Deonte Johnson, 22; and Michael Thomas, 26. Whether or not this group is responsible for today’s occurrence at Abt is unclear, though the event marks a similar pattern.