Armed smash-and-grab looters broke into a high-end exotic car dealership in Chicago, stealing millions of dollars in watches.
“We’re here to run a legitimate business, not be a western shootout,” Joe Perillo, co-owner of Gold Coast Exotic Motor Cars, told ABC7.
Two men reportedly entered the dealership, which boasts a showroom of Lamborghinis and Bentleys, around noon on Saturday. One man was armed with a gun and stood by the entrance of the dealership while the other man used a hammer to smash display cases and allegedly stole about eight luxury watches, Fox 32 reported.
“He was smart enough not to raise the gun, because my people had guns,” said Perillo. “If he raised that gun, he would have been shot, we’d probably be in court defending ourselves.”
The watches were stolen in a matter of seconds and worth millions of dollars, according to the store.
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“30 seconds, and they know, the criminals know,” Perillo told ABC 7.
About 10 customers, including children, were in the showroom at the time of the robbery. Some employees tried to chase the suspects, but to no avail.
“We ran after them on Chestnut, all the way to State Street, and then they split up,” said Joe Abbas, co-owner, Gold Coast Exotic Motor Cars.
Perillo added that Mayor Lori Lightfoot and District Attorney Kim Foxx must hold the perpetrators to account.
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“The mayor and Kim Foxx have to take a firm stand. It is wrong for someone to walk in, break into a place. And if they get caught, they get let out,” Perillo said.
Police are investigating and still searching for the men responsible. The showroom is now operating on an appointment-only basis.
Smash-and-grab mob lootings have unfolded in California repeatedly in recent weeks, with the crimes concentrating in Los Angeles and the San Francisco area. Chicago has also seen similar incidents, including along the city’s Magnificent Mile and on the Near North Side at retailers such as a Canada Goose store and Foot Locker.
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot has come under fire for suggesting retail stores are to blame for the crimes, saying she’s “disappointed” that stores “are not doing more to take safety and make it a priority.”
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“We also got to push retailers. Some of the retailers downtown and [on] Michigan Avenue, I will tell you, I’m disappointed that they are not doing more to take safety and make it a priority. For example, we still have retailers that won’t institute plans like having security officers in their stores, making sure that they’ve got cameras that are actually operational, locking up their merchandise at night. Chaining high-end bags, these purses seem to be something that is attracting a lot of attention on these organized retail theft units,” Lightfoot said last week.