WEST ROGERS PARK — Police cautioned Devon Avenue business owners Monday to watch out for a thief who cops say stole $600 of meat and "some ice cream" from a kabab restaurant — and then fled on a bicycle.
The thief — wearing a black hoodie, Nike sneakers and backpack — was caught on surveillance video riding up to a locked gate in the alleyway behind JK Kebab House in the 6400 block of North Rockwell Street.
An employee said the thief slipped through the gate and broke into the restaurant last month.
The camera footage showed "he was taking a whole bunch of meat. He got some ice cream," said employee Ansar Khan Monday, as he flipped chicken on a grill.
Since then, three similar burglaries along Devon Avenue and several others on the North and Northwest sides had been reported, typically with the thief smashing a window with a brick to get inside, said Rogers Park Police District Cmdr. Thomas Waldera.
Waldera said he didn't know what the thief wanted with so much meat.
"He clearly thinks he's 'Mission: Impossible' with this backpack," said Waldera, pointing at the thief's gear. "He's not an evil genius."
Waldera passed around still images from the security camera footage and encouraged business owners at a community meeting Monday to outfit their own stores with cameras to help police investigations.
The thief's bicycle had been modified with an oversized basket to help carry stolen items, according to the photographs.
"We've been looking for that bicycle for a long time," he said.
The thief had also robbed a Pakistani restaurant in the 2800 block of Devon Avenue and a cell phone store in the 2300 block of Devon Avenue late last month, Waldera said.
Although the thief hasn't been found, Waldera said he "put things in place" and the thief hasn't struck again.
"We think we got a handle on it," he said.
Waldera said Devon Avenue was a "target-rich environment" for criminals and warned about people about leaving things in their cars.
This story contains corrected information on the amount of meat stolen.