LAKEVIEW — Two businesses near Lakeview’s Southport Corridor were broken into early Tuesday, including Dear Margaret, which was targeted by smash-and-grab thieves about six months ago.
About 1:45 a.m. Tuesday, three people smashed the glass front door of Dear Margaret, 2965 N. Lincoln Ave., and went straight to the restaurant’s POS system to steal its cash register, said owner Lacey Irby, who opened the restaurant in 2021.
The three people, who Irby said looked like teenage boys, yanked the POS system out of the wall, knocking its entire cabinet to the ground before walking out the back door, Irby said. Two of the burglars did a loop around the restaurant, seemingly to look for other items they wanted to steal before leaving with just the cash register.
The burglary took less than two minutes and was captured on the restaurant’s surveillance cameras, which were installed after Dear Margaret was broken into in February, Irby said.
“It’s frustrating because we’ve taken steps to have safety measures in place, and it doesn’t seem like the cameras were enough of a deterrent,” Irby said. “It’s a violation of our privacy and safety.”
The cash register had $1,207, which is less money than was stolen in February’s burglary, Irby said.
The restaurant’s front door frame was damaged in the process, and will likely need to be completely replaced, costing Dear Margaret at least $10,000, Irby said. The POS system was also damaged.
“That’s all the damage they did, so we’re very lucky,” Irby said. “There’s hundreds of dollars of wine in there, and we’ve got some family heirlooms that are part of our decor,” Irby said.
Dear Margaret, which is usually open Wednesday through Sunday, was closed Wednesday to give Irby and her team another day to regain their bearings, Irby said.
The restaurant will no longer accept cash because “it’s too dangerous,” Irby said.
Chicago police officials said the incident was one of at least two burglaries early Tuesday near the Southport Corridor.
At 2:13 a.m., three burglars broke into another business in the 3300 block of North Southport Avenue and took off with its safe. Nearby business owners did not immediately return requests for comment.
No one was in custody Wednesday morning as police investigated both incidents.
Irby said the situation has been “stressful,” but support from the local community has helped her through it. Leaders from the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce reached out Tuesday morning and told Irby they contacted local Ald. Bennett Lawson (44th) and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
“We’re very fortunate as a neighborhood restaurant that we have such supportive guests,” Irby said. “Our neighbors are our friends and regulars. They’ve stopped by to see if we’re doing OK and written us comments on social media, so we feel very supported.”
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