Chicago IL July 14 2017 A security guard was run over by a robbery suspect behind the wheel of one of three cars that were stolen from the Ford plant on the Far South Side on Wednesday afternoon.
The incident was one of at least six over the last few months from the lot near 126th Street and Burley Avenue and the plant a few blocks west in which at least 25 cars have been taken by teens as young as 13 or 14.
Wednesday's incident happened about 1 p.m. in the city's Hegewisch community, according to authorities. The Ford plant is at 130th Street and Torrence Avenue a few blocks west.
One of the fleeing drivers ran over a 68-year-old security guard, who was in good condition while being treated for a leg injury at Advocate Christ Medical Center, according to police.
A dark Buick approached the entrance of the plant and three men got out and each stole a vehicle, police said. While they were driving away, the security guard tried to close a gate and was hit by one of the vehicles, which then drove off.
In three separate incidents in recent months, five cars were taken at once from the plant or the lot nearby. Police said that the companies that work with Ford use vans to ferry workers around, and it's not uncommon for them to move five cars at a time.
Four SUVs were taken in another recent incident from the same area.
The cars have keys left in them at different stages of production so they're easy to steal, according to police. Aside from the three thefts that accounted for 15 stolen cars, there were three other incidents in which SUVs and a trailer were taken from lot on Burley Avenue.
The different companies that are involved in different steps of production have a way to scan a bar code on the vehicle to track its whereabouts.
At first, the thieves were hopping the fence. Police said Ford added barbed wire to the fence but otherwise the thefts have continued unabated. Thursday's theft involved a Buick driving into the plant, three people jumping out and then fleeing with the cars.
Area South detectives were investigating.