Smash-and-grab handbag thieves suspected in other crimes

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A group of Chicago-area residents accused of stealing $60,000 worth of handbags in a brazen smash-and-grab in suburban St. Louis are suspected in similar crimes in three other states involving nearly $2 million in thefts and damage.

The crime Saturday at Plaza Frontenac resulted in a police chase that ended 60 miles away in Illinois. Seven men and one woman face felony charges. All of the suspects are in their 20s.

Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Mike Link says the suspects are believed to be part of a ring that has stolen merchandise from high-end retail stores in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, in addition to the Missouri crime.

Four other suspects in the Missouri case got away in a separate car and are still at large.