Employees clean up broken glass in front of the Jewel-Osco grocery store at 3644 S. Archer Ave. on the morning of Monday, June 1, 2020, after looters broke in and raided the liquor department the night before.

Looting, Arson, Attempted Home Invasions Mar McKinley Park Neighborhood

Published June 1, 2020

Like many areas of Chicago, the McKinley Park neighborhood suffered from numerous incidents of looting and vandalism — plus home invasion attempts and arson in residential areas of the neighborhood — over the evening of Sunday, May 31, and into the early morning hours of Monday, June 1.

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Local neighbor John Kugler and his wife were able to prevent multiple instances of home invasions of McKinley Park residences early on Sunday morning, he said, when his wife noticed on their video surveillance system a group of four men attempting to break into a residence at West 37th Street and South Wolcott Avenue, and then another residence at West 37th Street and South Honore Street.

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"We were protecting our corner on 37th and Winchester and making sure nothing happened in our neighborhood," Kugler said. "I got out of our building with our [adult] kid, and I had a 1,000-lumen flashlight, and I shined it at the guys trying to get in."

Although the four men, who Kugler described as between 25 and 35 years of age and including at least one white and one HIspanic individual, initially claimed they were trying to get into their own home, Kugler said he knows his neighbors, and these men didn't live at the residence.

"We're going to get you," one of the four threatened to Kugler after he told them to leave, he said. "I told them you're not going to leave the block if you don't leave now."

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Kugler said the four then proceed east on 37th Street. "I was just concerned about my neighbors," he said.

Looting and Arson in McKinley Park

Reported and confirmed incidents of looting, vandalism and other crime occurred at the following McKinley Park locations:

  • The Target store at 1940 W. 33rd St. was broken into and looted on Sunday evening, with reports that an initially small group of 10 or so individuals broke in, but were then joined by others who also participated in looting. 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas confirmed the incident on the McKinley Park Neighborhood Watch group on Facebook, and stated that arrests had been made, and that the Chicago Police Department's 9th District had placed a squad car at the scene to deter further looting.
  • Many stores in the commercial strip of Riverside Square and Rivers Edge Plaza on the east side of Ashland Avenue from South Archer Avenue to West 33rd Street suffered from broken windows and looting. A manager at the Mariano's grocery store 3145 S. Ashland Ave. reported three broken windows. The GNC vitamin and nutrition supplement store at 3145 S. Ashland Ave. also suffered a broken window; it was unclear the degree to which looting took place there. Sally Beauty Supply two doors down from GNC also suffered broken windows and presumed looting.

    Further south in this commercial strip, O'Reilly Auto Parts at 3201 S. Ashland Ave. was broken into and looted in Sunday's early evening hours around 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., employees said. The Party City store and the Dollar Tree store, both with an address of 1514 W. 33rd St., displayed broken windows on Monday morning with other signs of looting.
  • The Jewel-Osco grocery store at 3644 S. Archer Ave. was broken into through a front window, and the liquor department was looted, employees and a manager said on Monday morning as they cleaned up the damage.
  • The Walgreens store at 1926 W. 35th St. suffered from broken front windows and presumed looting on Sunday evening, with employees cleaning up the damage on Monday morning.
  • Garbage cans for a residence were set on fire Sunday night in the alley between South Paulina Street and South Hermitage Avenue, just north of West 38th Street. The manager of the Funeraria Sagrada Familia funeral home at 3756 S. Paulina St. was on-hand to assess the damage on Monday morning: He said that firefighters arrived and put out the fire within 20 minutes of local residents alerting them.
  • A car was set ablaze in the 3200 block of South Bell Avenue, but no injuries were reported, and the car had been removed as of Monday morning.

Reviewing many areas of the neighborhood revealed that, fortunately, many local and family businesses in the McKinley Park neighborhood's commercial strips remained undamaged, including stores and restaurants along Archer Avenue, and all along 35th Street through the neighborhood, where seemingly only Walgreens was damaged.

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Looking Out for the Neighborhood

Notable at McKinley Park's vandalized and looted buildings was a lack of any protest-related or anti-police graffiti, or any other signs that the crime and looting was tied to protesting the police slaying of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, which inspired protests and unrest across the nation.

"The [attempted home invaders] didn't seem to be protesters," Kugler said. "I'm very upset about what happened to George Floyd, and I support the protesters, but I don't support the destruction of private property."

Kugler said he hoped other McKinley Park neighbors would help to keep an eye out for problems. "Now that people are seeing damage locally, there is going to be more of a presence in the neighborhood," he said.  

The list of looting incidents reported here should not be considered comprehensive, and the McKinley Park News will continue to publish new information about issues connected to the current civic unrest in Chicago and the McKinley Park neighborhood.

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