Looters in Chicago might have gotten away with a lot of crimes last weekend but shouldn’t press their luck this time, the city’s police superintendent said Thursday.
“We want to send a message,” Chicago police Supt. David Brown told reporters outside the city’s famed Water Tower on Thursday evening.
“If you come downtown or to anyone of our retail corridors to loot, CPD is doing to arrest you. If someone is attempting to break a window to loot, CPD is going to arrest you. If you’re going in and out of stores in an attempt to loot, CPD is going to arrest you. If you are carrying or transporting merchandise from a store that has been looted, you will be stopped and arrested.”
Brown said police will deploy a number of tactics in their efforts to combat looting, including using spike strips to puncture tires of vehicles being used for crimes, and using trucks for impounding cars or for rounding up large numbers of suspects, Chicago’s FOX 32 reported.
“We are going to deploy all tactics necessary to prevent and stop looting,” Brown said. “ … We’ve increased our numbers, we have extended our hours that our officers work. There’s an increase of 1,000 officers that would normally be here.”
Chicago police arrested more than 100 people in connection with last weekend’s lawlessness, during which several police officers were injured, the station reported.
The police department has also set up a Looting Task Force and is working with the FBI to track down suspects from last weekend and bring them to justice, Brown said, according to Chicago’s WBBM-TV.
The task force has posted a website where people can view looting videos to help authorities identify suspects, he added.
That website can be accessed here.
One business owner accused the police department of being ill-prepared to handle last weekend’s looting.
"Eleven o'clock is when everyone converged,” Mo Zahid told FOX 32. “Are they prepared for something like that? I've seen police a lot in our area. I've never seen them so unprepared for what happened [the other night].”
Widespread criminality in the city’s downtown area Sunday night into Monday morning was believed to be a response to a police-involved shooting in the city’s Englewood neighborhood.
Rioters and looters were seen in social media videos smashing windows and running wild inside department stores, with some suspects seen carrying out boxes of merchandise.
Brown’s warning came the same day that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced that at least 42 people had been charged with felonies following widespread looting and destruction earlier in the week.
The charges include 28 for burglary and looting, six for gun possession, five for aggravated battery or resisting a police officer, and one each for theft and criminal damage to property, Foxx’s office said. The most serious charge was for attempted murder, authorities said.
Foxx had taken criticism earlier in the week from Brown and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for not moving aggressively enough to charge alleged offenders.
Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this story.