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11 teens arrested in robbery spree of Mag Mile shops

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

A teenage shoplifting gang snared more than $5,000 in stolen loot from Michigan Avenue stores Wednesday night before they were arrested, police say.

Five girls and six boys allegedly brazenly grabbed clothes from The North Face at 875 N. Michigan, AX Armani Exchange at 520 N. Michigan and Filene’s Basement at 830 N. Michigan, then fled on foot before they were arrested on the first block of East Pearson at 6:30 p.m.

The arrests follow a spate of similar shoplifting incidents over the last two weeks on Michigan Avenue in which large groups of youths use their sheer numbers to overwhelm and confuse store employees, staff at all three stores said.

“More than 15 of them came in the store, and then one of the boy’s shouted ‘Snatch!,’ and all you could hear was hangers being ripped off rails,” said a worker at Filene’s Basement, who asked not to be named because she is not authorized to speak with the press.

As the thieves ran from the store, one yelled out “Meet you on the Red Line!” she said.

At least $280 worth of merchandise was stolen from Filene’s, while goods worth $2,720 were stolen from North Face and $2,247 from Armani Exchange.

The girls, aged between 14 and 16, and the boys, aged between 15 and 17, were arrested within three minutes of each other and were charged as juveniles with retail theft, police said.

Two of the youths were among nine juveniles arrested Sunday after shoplifting incidents at nearby Columbia Sportswear, Guess, Bloomingdale’s, and Victoria’s Secret, according to police.

“It’s a mob, that’s exactly what they are,” Sgt. Sprio Maglaras said. “They are going in and basically grabbing stuff, overwhelming the security and leaving with the sensor on.” Several of the teens used twitter to plan their attacks, he said.

Lt. Joe Schmit added that the gang “acted with such reckless abandon.”

“They just bum-rushed the door, in a herd or a pack. Anybody in their way they ran over.’’

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