Taboo Tabou in Lakeview bills itself as a “a female-friendly adult store.”
Tell that to the three shoplifting suspects who were arrested with the help of two store workers over the weekend — earning them the title “Sex Store Superheroes.”
“We’re really proud of our girls,’’ said Taboo Tabou owner Mark Thomas of his two employees, both women in their 20s. “They didn’t run and hide. They really stood up for themselves.”
The incident unfolded shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday when three women and a man entered the shop in the 800 block of West Belmont Avenue and began browsing the shelves in the lower level, according to surveillance video.
One of the women keeps a worker busy, taking her to the side asking questions, while the other three rifle through shelves and stuff items into plastic bags and a backpack they are carrying, the video shows.
“She was taken as far away as she could and positioned herself so my employee actually had her back to these people,’’ Thomas said. “In the meantime, these people are just stuffing stuff into bags. … It’s a classic story.”
The four brushed past one of the workers as they left the store, and the employee alerted the other worker, who called 911 and Thomas.
Thomas said he rushed over after contacting the 19th Police District. He said he grabbed one of his staffers and they jumped into his car and started driving down Belmont Avenue, spotting the suspects at the “L” station.
“She screamed at CTA police, ‘That’s my bag, they stole my stuff,’ ” Thomas said, adding that the staffer was “charged up and filled with adrenalin.”
CTA security officers held onto one suspect at the station and two others up on the platform until police got there and arrested them. The fourth suspect was not caught. Ratero Walker, 19, Deavin S. Oliver, 21, of the 8200 block of South Richmond Avenue and Aaliyah Foster, 20, were each charged with retail theft.
Judge Peggy Chiampas ordred all of them on electronic home monitoring, giving them the option to post ten percent of a $10,000 bail to be released without the monitoring in court Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors said the items that were stolen were worth slightly more than $600.
No one was injured, but Thomas said he saw officers searching a backpack and finding a steak knife. “This could have gone really wrong,’’ Thomas said.
Thomas said it was his daughter Alexis who dubbed the two workers “Sex Store Superheroes.’’
“These guys were trained, organized thugs,” he added. “This is not a new game, you know what I mean? We’ve had this kind of crap going on for 30 years.”
Thomas has been in business in the area since 1986. The store on Belmont had just opened about 10 days ago.
Foster, of the 1800 block of South Sawyer, was wanted on an outstanding warrant for misdemeanor battery from July, prosecutors said.
Walker of the 14400 block of Dorchester Street in Dolton is on juvenile probation for residential burglary and has a pending battery charge from December, according to prosecutors.
Chicago Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and Brianna Gurciullo contributed.
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