Chicago diners beware. Thieves are targeting patrons who leave their cell phone on the table while eating in downtown restaurants, police warn.
In the last week a group of two to four men between the ages of 16 and 21 has stolen phones from unsuspecting diners at least two restaurants, police said.
"Four guys came in, one guy tried to distract me, asking about the bathroom," said Elephant & Castle hostess Genae Davis. "The other two guys went to the table."
Davis said the robbers approached a woman sitting alone, and the customer didn't realize what happened until after the men were gone.
"Five minutes later the lady came up to me [and said,] 'Those guys stole my cell phone,'" Davis said. "Everything was so fast, she didn't even notice."
Police said one of the thives will drop a paper over a cell phone when they approach a customer and then ty to distract them by asking them for money or by trying to sell them something. Before they go, they pick up the paper and get the cell phone too.
"We're all guilty of taking it out and leaving it on the table," said Maria Powell, a tourist visiting Chicago. "Your clock is there, your emails, your text messages."
The cell phone at Elephant & Castle was stolen just before 3 p.m. last Wednesday. Minutes later a phone was stolen from another restaurant on West Adams about a block away. Last Friday a phone was taken from a patron at a restaurant on the 600 block of North State Street.
Police are still looking for the thieves.