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Aldermen Seek Ordinance To Curb Rash Of Car Thefts At Area Auto Businesses

Alderman Harry Osterman of the 48th Ward and Alderman Patrick O’Connor of the 40th Ward are working together on a new ordinance that aid in curbing a rash of area car thefts.

According to Alderman Osterman, Chicago police contacted him about car thefts at auto businesses in the city. Some dealers and rental agencies have been regularly leaving keys in the autos or in a specific collected area on their lots overnight. The thieves have been taking advantage of the practice by breaking in, accessing the keys and easily taking the vehicles.  Some thieves choose to steal dealer’s specialty license plates as well to use on stolen vehicles. In many instances, the criminals will use these cars to perpetrate further crimes.

“What this ordinance entails is that when auto dealerships and auto rental facilities are closed, they will have to secure all of their keys and specialty dealer license plates in a lockbox,” said Alderman Osterman. “Everything we can do, big and small, to address safety in our city has to be done because of the violence we have been seeing today. If we are able to prevent one individual from stealing a car and using it in a crime, then it’s worth doing.”

Though thefts have been occurring throughout the city, including area airport rental facilities, the Alderman confirmed that at least one Edgewater dealership was targeted by gang members. Also at a hearing last week regarding the issue, the Chicago police’s automotive theft division testified about the citywide problem including 13 specific incidents of stolen vehicles at O’Hare airport from rental agencies.

“My hope is that once this ordinance passes and takes effect, we will see a great reduction in these types of incidents that are occurring,” Alderman Osterman added. “We want to make sure that all areas of Chicago are safe, whether in a neighborhood are at an airport.”

Both Aldermen are hoping that the ordinance will significantly curb the thefts. If all goes according to plan, the measure will be voted on by the Committee on Public Safety sometime in September. 


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