UPTOWN — University of Illinois student Emmanuel Kwaning drove his brand new 2020 Toyota Corolla home to visit his parents in Uptown on Christmas Eve. Arriving home at 2:30 a.m., Kwaning parked on Marine Drive, just north of Montrose Avenue, then walked to his parent’s house and went to sleep.
A few hours later, he discovered all four tires of his first car were gone, the victim of a crime that police say has increased in the area.
“I didn’t know what to think. I was pretty bummed out because I just got the car and now my insurance is going to go up,” Kwaning said. He added that the thieves also scratched the car’s bumper.
Chicago Police say there has been an increase in similar incidents in the area but did not have exact numbers available.
“I’m the one that analyzes the crime statistics and we are aware of the situation,” Chicago police officer Sylvia Sanchez said. “Every time we see an increase like that we notify our beat officers as well as our tac, which our are undercover or plainclothes officers to keep an eye on those specific areas.”
Kwaning’s tire theft comes just three weeks after Buena Park resident Jennifer Goelz discovered her 2015 Nissan Murano on blocks with all four tires missing along with a broken passenger side window. Goelz was also parked on Marine Drive just north of Montrose, in the same area as Kwaning’s car.
For Goelz, it was the second time in a few months that she was victimized, having had her tire slashed along with four other cars on Montrose Avenue between Clarendon Avenue and Marine Drive in September. That incident was captured on camera, but no one was arrested.
Kwaning said the theft of his tires caused him to be stuck in Chicago a few days longer than he planned and added that his parents, who also park their car on Marine Drive, are now paying to park in a garage.
No arrests have been made in either tire-stealing incident and although there is a camera on the corner of Montrose and Marine Drive, there are no cameras further north that monitor the street, which is often dark, secluded and allows thieves to easily get on and off Lake Shore Drive.
Calls to Ald. James Cappleman’s (46th) office were not returned and Sanchez said police haven’t discussed the issue of adding more cameras.
“I have no idea about cameras. We haven’t talked about that,” Sanchez said.
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