FOX 32 NEWS - A rash of car thefts and burglaries across the Chicago suburbs is prompting police to warn people to be more careful.
Since May, more than 100 high-end vehicles have been stolen from the North Shore and western suburbs, and another 200 have been burglarized.
“Grateful to have it back because I had just got the car in June, brand new,” said Kim Byrne of Elmurst, who’s Volvo C-90 SUV was stolen.
Byrne is relieved to have her SUV back after it was stolen over the weekend in a crime that left her stunned when she came out Saturday morning and found it gone.
“What happened, did we forget a car last night, what happened? We couldn't believe it was gone. I thought my husband had it, he was like, no! We were just like stunned it was gone,” Byrne said.
Elmhurst Police say thieves have been going after high-end vehicles that are parked in driveways, and have made quite a haul over the past few months in upper class suburbs all around Chicago.
“Well I think they're looking for unlocked vehicles that would have valuables inside. People may leave things like iPads or cell phones, or it seems like the incidents where these vehicles were actually being stolen, people have left keys or key fobs in the vehicle,” said Elmhurst Police Deputy Chief Michael McLean.
In Naperville, 30 vehicles were burglarized in one night and one was stolen. A 15-year-old Chicago boy was charged in the theft.
And with many of the vehicles from the various suburbs being recovered in Chicago, police believe it could be the work of gangs.
“Some of the vehicles over the past several months have been connected to additional crimes that many of which have occurred in Chicago and some of which have occurred in the suburbs,” McLean said. “We're talking about further armed robberies; we're talking about on occasions, some shootings in Chicago.”
People realize they now have to be more careful.
“We just have to have to pay attention more and we live in a great town, but our kids take it for granted,” said neighbor Chris Scalzitti. “My oldest son, ‘oh don't worry mom, we live in Elmhurst.’”
The thefts have happened in Elmhurst, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Wilmette, Highland Park, Glencoe, Glenview, Winnetka, Northbrook, Deerfield, Hinsdale, Bolingbrook and Naperville.
Police are alerting residents to lock their cars and garage doors.
Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth advises, “In a majority of the cases, the stolen vehicles have been left unlocked with the keys in the car. If the thieves did not find the keys, they stole what they could. We have an escalated alert out to all residents, asking them to please lock their vehicles and take the keys with them. If the thieves do not have success in committing this crime in Elmhurst, they will stop targeting this area.”