Suspected ‘ringleader’ of Chicago smash-and-grabs charged in multiple burglaries, top cop says

A man is accused of contributing to a loss of $175,000 from upscale retailers last year

By Paige Fry
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A Maywood man was arrested Monday after Chicago police identified him as the “ringleader” of a group involved in a series of retail burglaries on the Northwest Side and downtown from the end of last year into the new year, according to Superintendent David Brown.

Tacarre Harper, 27, is facing multiple felony counts of burglary, police said.

Brown and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx held a news conference at the police headquarters Tuesday afternoon to announce the charges.

The string of robberies included that of a Burberry store downtown at the beginning of the year, Brown said. Harper’s organized group allegedly conducted smash and grabs of retail stores from Nov. 26 to Jan. 6.

Brown said Harper contributed to the loss of $175,000. The Burberry store burglary, which is in the 600 block of North Michigan Avenue, made up majority — $150,000 — of that total.

Harper had four active warrants at the time of his arrest, Brown said. He is also suspected in dozens of additional burglaries of liquor, electronic and clothing stores across Chicago and surrounding suburbs.

He was identified through video surveillance that captured him and he was easily recognized because of distinctive features, Brown said.

Foxx said Harper appeared at bond court Tuesday and ordered held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

“We are going to arrest Harper’s crew,” Brown said.

[MORE: Erica Sandberg on the increase in property crime and retail theft]

The arrest comes after 38-year-old Carlos Valliant, of Hammond was arrested Thursday in Crown Point, Indiana, police said. He was identified as one of the main people responsible for the smash-and-grab burglary on Dec. 11, where a glass case was smashed and five watches were taken from a car dealership in the 800 block of North Rush Street, police said. He was charged with theft of $500,000 to $1 million and burglary.

Kimberly Bares, president of the Magnificent Mile Association, said at the news conference that these arrests signal to criminals that retail theft will not be tolerated on Michigan Avenue or anywhere else in Chicago.

“Some people mistakenly think these are victimless crimes, but these crimes have real victims,” Bares said. “Employees and customers physically present in store during crimes are put in harm’s way.”

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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