Suburban malls, stores shut down amid widespread fears of looting

  • Addison police and public works vehicles on Sunday evening blocked the entrance to Walmart and Sam's Club as concerns about looting spread throughout the suburbs.

      Addison police and public works vehicles on Sunday evening blocked the entrance to Walmart and Sam's Club as concerns about looting spread throughout the suburbs. Eileen Brown | Staff Photographer

  • Oakbrook Center mall in Oak Brook was one of at least four suburban malls to close its doors early Sunday after threats of looting and vandalism surfaced.

    Oakbrook Center mall in Oak Brook was one of at least four suburban malls to close its doors early Sunday after threats of looting and vandalism surfaced. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 5/31/2020 9:56 PM

Businesses across the suburbs, including at least four shopping malls, closed abruptly Sunday amid threats of looting and vandalism, authorities said.

Some of those fears came to fruition later Sunday night in Aurora, and Metra announced it is suspending all service on Monday for the safety of the public and employees, and because of municipal restrictions that limit workers' ability to reach job sites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook closed as numerous reports surfaced online about looting at the mall and nearby businesses. Police confirmed the closure on Facebook, but in a follow-up post stated there were no looters and the mall is secure.

Lombard officials in a tweet said Yorktown Center and several surrounding stores also closed early Sunday because of looting fears.

"Lombard has been notified by nearby communities that they are experiencing groups traveling along the Butterfield and Roosevelt Road Corridors, causing damage," the tweet reads. "Yorktown Center and many stores in the area have closed for the day, as a precaution."

Police in Schaumburg confirmed that Woodfield Mall closed early Sunday as a result of social media threats, but said no looting or property damage was reported.

"Due to social media threats for rioting and looting at the mall, as a precautionary measure all entrances and exits off Route 53 had been barricaded," police said. The threats specified a start at 7 p.m., and a heavy police presence had assembled at the mall.

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Naperville officials said Sunday night they were closely tracking reports out of neighboring communities about roving groups possibly causing damage.

"At this time there is no credible threat to our community," the police statement reads. "Please be aware of your surroundings and as always, please call 911 if you need us. The Naperville Police Department will continue to monitor the situation closely."

In Rosemont, officials at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago announced the mall was closed Sunday "out of an abundance of caution, and with the safety of our shoppers and retailers in mind."

In Carpentersville, a social media post threatened a riot, Police Chief Michael Kilbourne said

"'Cville, riot, Walmart,' those three words, in some order," Kilbourne said. "We have identified the poster, a 17-year-old, we've spoken to him and there was no intent or ability to carry out on his post."

Shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin issued a statement in regard to incidents stemming from people protesting the May 25 death of Minnesota resident George Floyd.

"This evening, I stand with Sheriff (James) Mendrick and State's Attorney (Bob) Berlin in support of our DuPage County communities," Cronin began.

"We condemn the actions that resulted in the death of George Floyd and we support people's right to assemble and peacefully protest. But there is a difference between protesting peacefully and committing criminal acts. Protesters in DuPage County who damage or destroy private or public property, or who commit criminal acts like arson, burglary and criminal damage to property will be arrested, prosecuted and if found guilty, imprisoned. We have no tolerance for those who would use this tragic occurrence to cause further pain in our community."

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