The burglar who tried to break into a Wicker Park bar last week came up empty after trying to pull a door he should have pushed—and damaging the door too much to open it, according to the bar’s owner and video surveillance of the break-in attempt.
The burglar, who Chicago Police say may be tied to a recent string of burglaries around Wicker Park and Bucktown, tried to break into The Shambles bar, 2050 W. Division St., between 6:40 a.m. and 6:50 a.m. last Friday, said bar owner Joe Lin.
The burglar took advantage of a temporary winter windbreak entrance to try to break in without being seen, said Lin, who released video and photos of the burglar to help warn other bar owners and catch the would-be burglar. The man used a bolt-cutter of some sort to break the lock in the double glass doors, then removed it and tried to get in.
On the video, “you can see that he tries to pull the door,” when a sign on the outside of the door says “push,” said Lin, who originally released still photos and video of the incident to DNAInfo.com Chicago.
But while the video indicates the burglar became frustrated, it wasn’t just because of the door opening in, Lin said. The burglar also broke the door and caused a metal rod that braced the door closed to fall on the ground, he said.
“We got lucky, because we have a lot of things—a lot of equipment, just like anybody else, in there,” Lin said.
Because The Shambles is a 4 a.m. bar, the burglar arrived just a little too late to be caught by the bar staff, who had left just a half-hour before, Lin said.
It appears the burglar tried to break into another bar nearby around the same time he tried to break into The Shambles, and police are looking at whether he might be behind a series of burglaries in the neighborhood dating back to early December.
Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada said investigators are looking into whether Friday’s burglaries are tied to a pattern of break-ins within a few blocks of the two bars, dating back to early December.
In those break-ins, the burglar or burglars have forced their ways into retail stores and accessories and stole computers and other accessories.
The earlier burglaries were in:
- The 2100 block of North Damen Avenue on Dec. 2, between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m.;
- The 2100 block of North Elston Avenue on Dec. 23 at 4:49 a.m.;
- The 2100 block of North Damen on Dec. 13 4:50 a.m.;
- The 1900 block of North Damen Dec. 20 5:10 a.m. and 5:14 a.m.;
- The 1800 block of North Damen Dec. 21 at 5:16 a.m.;
- The 1300 block of West North Avenue 6:30 p.m. Dec. 31 and 6:30 a.m. Jan. 2;
- And the 1900 block of North Damen on Jan. 4 at 06:35 a.m.
The burglars are believed to be black men, between the ages of 35 and 45 years old, between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10, weighing between 180 and 250 pounds and with a medium complexion. In the attempted break-in at The Shambles, the burglar is seen wearing a white coverall, possibly a disposable painter’s coverall.
Police are asking that anyone with information about the burglaries call Area North Detectives at 312-744-8263.
Lin said he was having the door repaired this week, and installing a new security system.
While some have questioned why the door opened inward, because public places of amusement are required under the Chicago Fire Code to have exits that open outward, Lin said there is a nearby fire exit that opens outward.