News and Commentary

Chicago Police Arrest 15-Year-Old Kid Running Elaborate Beauty Product Crime Ring: Report
A Chicago Police decal on a Chicago Police vehicle is on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois on February 6, 2020.
(Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

The Chicago Police Department arrested a 15-year-old boy accused of running an elaborate crime ring focused on robbing high-end beauty and hygiene stores and then selling stolen goods on the black market. The boy remains unnamed since he is only a minor but was charged last Thursday with 21 felony counts after he and several of his accomplices were finally caught after a months-long investigation by CPD.

According to CWB Chicago, the young boy is suspected of being linked “to ten raids on Ulta stores across the city between August 27 and October 24.”

The suspect and his accomplices are accused of entering into beauty stores, dumping as many products as they could into garbage bags, and then walking out before making a profit off their stolen goods on the streets.

It is unclear if the following video is related to the alleged teenage crime lord, but the theft caught on camera occurred around the same time and in the same location as the aforementioned heists:

“Smash-and-grabs,” as the video above purportedly shows, have become commonplace in major American cities, as “rogue prosecutors” often refuse to pursue these acts for a variety of reasons. Across the country, organized mobs of individuals have been walking into high-end stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, and more while simply stealing items off the shelf in one fell swoop.

In Chicago, critics have placed the blame squarely at the feet of Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) and Prosecutor Kim Foxx.

Foxx, perhaps best known for her failure to prosecute convicted hate-crime hoax artist Jussie Smollett, had previously promised to start prosecuting shoplifting only if the stolen merchandise was under $1,000 or if the suspect had fewer than 10 felony charges. Due to the nature of the crimes and lack of action by Foxx, however, Chicago authorities haven’t prevented thousands of dollars of worth of merchandise from being stolen regularly.

And Foxx’s leniency goes beyond shoplifting. In December, The Wall Street Journal reported that in her “first three years in office, Ms. Foxx dismissed all charges against nearly 30% of felony defendants, or some 25,000 felony cases including for murder, shootings and sex crimes.”

Across the city, activists are calling for the city to do something about the growing problem.

“Not only is it being tolerated because we’re seeing it more, but we’re seeing there’s no prosecution involved in this,” Pete Eliadis, a former law enforcement official and current CEO of Intelligence Consulting Partners, told Fox News.

“Law enforcement is not going to engage with that type of element because it’s an accepted crime,” he added.

Lightfoot had previously tried to blame the uptick in crime on the COVID-19 pandemic, but that idea seems to lack any evidence. In 2019, before the pandemic started, shoplifting had already risen by 34% since 2015 in the Windy City.

Betsy Smith, a former Chicago-area law enforcement officer and spokesperson for the National Police Association, told Fox News that Lightfoot’s theory was “silly” and an attempt to “blame every crime in Chicago on the pandemic.”

“When we were locked down during the eye of the pandemic, I felt no great need to go steal from my local Ulta or Louis Vuitton store,” Smith added.

For now, the problem does not appear to be going away. CWB Chicago reported that nine hours after the “major arrest” of the 15-year-old was announced Friday, another beauty store was robbed.

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