Police are warning residents following a recent rash of car burglaries in Antioch where at least one of the suspects was seen walking around with a gun in his hand.
Antioch has seen a spike in burglaries and thefts involving unlocked vehicles, according to Village Communication Manager Jim Moran.
The spike follows a pattern of similar incidents throughout the Chicagoland area.
At least one member of a burglary crew was captured on video carrying a handgun while committing the crimes.
Video footage of suspects approaching vehicles and attempting to enter them was released by Antioch police on Tuesday.
The crew is believed to have struck several neighborhoods in Antioch between 10 p.m. Sunday and 1 a.m. Monday, Moran said.
There were approximately 15 incidents involving the theft of property from unlocked vehicles.
An investigation shows the offenders were driving stolen cars from other communities.
All vehicles that had property stolen were unlocked, Moran said.
Moran said the only effective deterrent to the crimes is to stop providing a “target-rich environment” of unlocked cars with valuables.
Antioch Police Chief Geoffrey Guttschow said anyone who encounters someone committing a crime should not confront criminals because they may be armed.
“Anyone who sees something should call 9-1-1 immediately,” Guttschow said.
“Confronting the criminals could have deadly consequences. No personal property is worth someone’s life,” he said.
Guttschow is also renewing his call for residents to help combat suburban auto thefts and burglaries by participating in an evening routine of safeguarding personal property.
The “9 p.m. routine” encourages a daily check of items just before bedtime.
The campaign was created to educate residents about best safety practices and help the community reduce preventable crimes.
Police recommend residents remove valuables from their cars and make sure their vehicles are locked.
Anyone with additional information related to the recent crimes, including security camera video or those who may have been the victim of an unreported crime, should call the Antioch Police dispatch center at 847-270-9111 or email email@example.com.