Well-known Chicago Avenue business burglarized

The Office on Chicago Avenue was broken into last Friday

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By Michael Romain


A prominent Austin businessman is looking for answers after his office was burglarized last Friday.

Security camera footage shows a man — who appears to be in his late 20s or early 30s, bald, fair-skinned, around 200 pounds, and wearing a white T-shirt — taking roughly six minutes to tear down a steel-frame outer door before kicking in a second door of The Office LLC, 5814 W. Chicago Ave.

James Spearman, the prominent West Side entrepreneur who owns The Office, said the burglary happened around 12:26 a.m. on June 30. The suspect took a flat-screen TV and a file box. Spearman said he wasn't sure what was in the box or why the man would take it.

"I think it was premeditated," said an employee of Spearman's, who declined to give his name. In the video footage, the man gets out of a black car. After taking the TV, he walks out of The Office space, then returns to take the file box. The employee said he believes the man was walking to and from the car.

"The guy literally tore the door off with his bare hands," said Spearman. "It took him 6 minutes to get into that front door. While he was trying to take the door off, a police car passed and a couple of CTA buses drove by."

The video footage even shows a pedestrian casually walking past the man while he's trying to free the obviously mangled door from the lock.

Spearman said this is the first time The Office has been burglarized. Another property he owns, an event space called Genesis on the Avenue, located across the street from The Office, has been burglarized at least once.

The businessman said he talked to Chicago Police Department detectives, who came to the establishment and ran fingerprints the day the burglary happened.

Spearman said the police haven't contacted him since then, adding that the recent burglary is one among a string of burglaries and armed robberies that have happened on the busy commercial arterial in the last few years. The crimes, Spearman said, don't often result in a capture or prosecution.

"Detectives are probably overworked," said Spearman, who is also known for his work with youth on the West Side.

Chicago Police couldn't be reached on Monday for comment. To submit tips anonymously to the police, visit: https://home.chicagopolice.org/community/crime-prevention/tipsubmit/.  

Email: michael@austinweeklynews.com Twitter: AustinWeeklyChi

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