BOYSTOWN — Where does an alleged thief stash stolen phones and wallets while dressed for a night out on the town?
Her undies, of course.
Jessica Boyd, 25 of Springfield, was charged with stealing phones, wallets and keys from people in Boystown bars, police said.
When confronted, she loosened her pants and her ill-gotten gains tumbled to the floor, a nightclub security boss said.
Boyd, who was charged with misdemeanor theft, was caught around 3:45 a.m. on Dec. 28 at Berlin Nightclub, 954 W. Belmont Ave., according to Officer Thomas Walsh of the Town Hall District.
A man had dropped his phone and noticed Boyd pick it up, said Tariq Peterson, Berlin's security manager.
She had been dancing and being social, Peterson said.
But when club security asked her to empty her pockets, things got weird: She allegedly started writhing her body and cursing at onlookers. Then Peterson heard "a big old thump" — the sound of phones dropping out of her pant leg onto the floor.
"She didn't realize she was making things easier for us," Peterson said.
Boyd wore a fitted button-up shirt and slightly baggy pants. When Peterson told her police had been called, she allegedly started to unbutton her clothes — revealing a sports bra and "fitted underwear" stuffed with wallets, keys, credit cards and iPhones, Peterson said. She then loosened the elasticity of the underwear to let the items drop out, he said.
"It wasn't the traditional black-coat pickpocket," he said.
When the lights turned up at Berlin, which closes at 4 a.m., bargoers spotted their belongings on the floor, Peterson said. Many did not even realize they'd lost them, he said, shaking his head.
"I always want to get mad at the victims," he said. "You need to be watchful of your belongings."
Boyd has four previous arrests, Walsh said. When police arrived to arrest her again, she insisted she had not stolen anything since the items had fallen on the floor, Peterson said.
One of the phones belonged to a woman who had been at Roscoe's Tavern, 3356 N. Halsted St., Walsh said, meaning items had been swiped from bargoers in more than one location.
The episode represents one of the district's biggest crime problems — theft. Most of the time, it happens when people aren't careful, and the undie pickpocket is just another reminder that people need to watch themselves when out at bars, Walsh said.
"They are quick, and they are in and out of your purse in a matter of seconds," he said. "You never know who it can be."
Boyd is scheduled to face charges in court Jan. 29.
Emily Morris contributed to this report.