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Bollards to be set up to protect Chicago businesses from crash-and-grab burglaries

By Charlie De Mar

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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — A crash-and-grab burglary attempt at the Prada store on fashionable Oak Street turned violent Monday – as a Chicago Police officer and a suspect were both shot in a confrontation.

A new plan is aimed at preventing the crash-and-grab crime trend by keeping vehicles from being able to crash into storefronts. But will such a plan work?

Brothers Robert and David Kim are the owners of SVRN – a streetwear located in in the Aberdeen East luxury apartment building at 171 N. Aberdeen St. in the West Loop. They had concrete barriers in front of their storefront – but it was no matched for an organized crew of crash-and-gran burglars next month.

“We keep bolstering our defenses with every break-in, and at this point, I don’t know what more we can do,” said Robert Kim.

The Kims’ store has been targeted at least three times.

“This needs to be addressed, now,” said Robert Kim.

And then early Monday came the crash-and-grab at the Prada at 30 E. Oak St., which was followed by a shootout between a suspect and a responding officer at State and Walton streets. Both were injured.

Funding has been secured for protective bollards to prevent cars from ramming into storefronts – and they are coming to Chicago’s premier shopping districts.

The bollards will be installed along Oak Street, and Michigan Avenue on the Magnificent Mile, in the spring. It is a move, said Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), to save businesses.

“Our concern is that some of bricks-and-mortar retailers are just going to give up, and decide it’s not worth it to them,” Hopkins said.

Some stores that have fallen victim to crash-and-grabs in recent weeks have taken matters into their own hands. One River North shoe store, Endless Supply at 750 N. Franklin St., installed concrete barriers to protect their merchandise too.

“It’s only one aspect of your security program,” said security expert Sean Ahrens.

Ahrens said along with reinforcing their storefronts, shop owners should think about securing their entire buildings.

“Look at your 360-degree envelope,” Ahrens said. “Approach the building as an aggressor – ‘How would I break into that building?’ And when you come up with those conclusions, your aggressor probably is as well.”

But with all the crash-and-grabs and little to no consequences, business owners like Kim say his best defense could mean closing for good.

De Mar: “So you’re seriously considering possibly closing your stores?”

Robert Kim: “Of course. If this lawlessness keeps taking place, we have to move out. There’s no way we’re going to be able to sustain.”

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