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9 Jun, 2020 19:39

Catch me if you can? Chicago looters BRAG on Facebook about unloading stolen goods

Catch me if you can? Chicago looters BRAG on Facebook about unloading stolen goods

After two weeks pillaging shops under the cover of George Floyd protests, over-confident looters are boasting about their hauls on Facebook. The police and FBI claim to be hot on their trail – but currently have their hands full.

As if the chaotic scenes of lawlessness were not enough for Chicago, a local TV network was shocked to discover looters brazenly showing off their hauls on social media. CBS affiliate WBBM reported on the phenomenon on Monday, airing excerpts of multiple clips posted by one woman, who apparently took part in a heist and documented it all in a Facebook Live.

Not only wasn’t she afraid of getting caught, but she also sought to shame Facebook users for sharing the videos with police. One video had been shared more than 6,000 times.

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While the looter wouldn’t speak with reporters – her friend blocked one journalist who made contact her on Facebook – she made it clear she didn’t expect to be punished, repeatedly filming a car trunk overflowing with purloined liquor and clothing. “I upload stolen s*** 365 a year,” she bragged in one video shared by CBS, declaring she “don’t give no f***s” about “this s***.”

I looted. I took all my s***. Yes!…This ain’t the motherf***in’ first time I did this.

The FBI put out a call last week for photos and videos of “unlawful activity”, and the Chicago Police Department belatedly requested video evidence of “unlawful encounters.” After forwarding several Facebook Live videos of boastful looters to law enforcement, a reporter for the network claimed agents were “still actively working to review the tips,” with the FBI insisting “every one” was being “reviewed by a person” with the aim of identifying the individuals concerned. Chicago police refused to comment on the brazen videos.

Neither agency was apparently asked whether they’d tried contacting the individuals whose accounts had posted the incriminating footage. In addition to requiring its users to use their real names, Facebook uses facial recognition algorithms to auto-tag people in photographs and videos, theoretically making law enforcement’s job much easier.

While other cities might balk at such a lackluster response to the open plundering of private property, Chicago has been wracked by historic levels of violence in recent weeks. Dozens of businesses have been looted and burned amid the massive nationwide protests against police brutality that kicked off on Memorial Day, when a white Minneapolis police officer killed unarmed black man George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes. On May 31, Chicago endured its most violent day since 1961, when the University of Chicago Crime Lab first began keeping track of such statistics. A shocking 18 people were fatally shot in a single 24-hour period, while the entire weekend saw 25 people killed and 85 wounded in shootings.

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The number of emergency calls went through the roof as well, with more than 65,000 911 calls made, compared to the daily average of 15,000. The Chicago Police Department has attempted to address this appalling spike in criminal activity, issuing a statement on Monday via a spokesman. “The level of activity experienced over the last week has been unprecedented, and the Department is actively investigating multiple incidents across the city and working to determine the motives in these cases,” the statement read, pledging the department was “actively working to seek justice for all the residents impacted, especially those who have been killed or injured by these senseless acts of violence.

Some resale platforms have taken steps to crack down on likely looters. Sneaker resale site StockX told the LA Times last week that it would “take any available measures to prevent the sale of stolen goods on [its] platform,” while clothing resale hub Poshmark insisted it was “actively monitoring activity on our platform to ensure that stolen goods are not being sold,” but hadn’t yet seen any rise in “suspiciously sourced goods.

A Los Angeles Apple store disabled the demo phones stolen by looters, leaving them unable to display anything beyond a shaming message asking the user to return the device to the store, and warning that, otherwise, “local authorities will be alerted.

Whether those authorities will do anything with such alerts, however, is another matter. Urged to “do something better” during a conference call with 50 city aldermen by one who described his ward as a “virtual war zone,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the hapless politician “100 percent full of s***” and dismissed his concerns about violent rioting as “unsubstantiated rumors.”

However, Lightfoot had already acknowledged she hadn’t “seen s*** like this before, not in Chicago.

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