South Loop merchants hit by smash and grab burglars

CHICAGO -- Chicago police are investigating a string of smash and grab burglaries that took place overnight in the city's South Loop. There were five separate incidents, all of them happening in the early morning hours.

The South Loop store managers are faced with a considerable cleanup job at the Cermak and Wabash Currency Exchange, where intruders smashed a door and apparently even made an attempt to penetrate the bulletproof glass to get into the back. There is no word yet on precisely what the thieves made off with.

The owner of a pizzeria located just two doors down from the burglarized currency exchange tells WGN he was also victimized.

The owner of South Loop Market at 1720 South Michigan Avenue says he, too, was hit about the same time as the currency exchange. His alarm company notified him of a break-in around 3:00 a.m. today. The market's front door was smashed open and the owner tells WGN that money was stolen from a cash register.

Police News Affairs says money was also stolen from a cash register early in the morning at the Ms. Catwalk dress shop at 2311 South Michigan Avenue. The thieves used the same technique, smashing the glass door in before grabbing the money.

The owner of Mufflers 4 Less found out around 4:00 a.m. that his store was also broken into. In his case, it does not appear the would-be burglar or burglars were able to find anything of value, so they fled. Owner Orlando Carrasco has been at this location at Wabash and Cermak for 20 years and he says he has seen a spike in crime in his neighborhood.

There is no word yet from police on complaints that there has been a spike in crime in the South Loop, but a number of people who have spoken with WGN say they have seen an uptick in the last few months.