Fulton Market

Residents on Alert After Thieves Appear to Use Electronic Device to Steal Car

A puzzling crime in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood has residents on alert after thieves apparently used an electronic device to enter a car and drive it away.

The local neighborhood association is now warning residents about the crime, saying that the thieves may have used the device to specifically target Volkswagen vehicles.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Thursday, a 42-year-old woman told Chicago police that she had parked her car in the 200 block of North Carpenter, but found that it was missing when she returned.

“It wasn’t on,” Roger Romanelli of the Fulton Market Association said. “She was in a medical office getting treatment, so the car was off and locked for at least an hour.”

Romanelli says that the woman had her keys with her, making the crime an unusual one.

“We’ve seen all sorts of crimes, but we have never seen a crime like this,” he said.

The incident was caught on camera, with video showing the suspects walking up and down the street twice.

“On the second pass, they literally walked into the vehicle and drove away as if it were their own,” Romanelli said.

Many newer models of cars come with features that allow drivers to unlock their vehicles with an app on their phones. Romanelli says that the neighborhood association hasn’t seen many similar crimes in the area, but he’s still warning residents to be vigilant.

“So we really need to get to the public that they need to protect themselves if they have the electric start and if the vehicle is susceptible,” he said.

Drivers are being reminded to never leave valuables inside of vehicles, including car chargers and bags.

“We’re taking action because we want to protect everyone in our community,” he said. “We want everyone with electronic car starters to talk to your dealers. See if your car is susceptible to this type of crime, and to take preventative action.” .

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