Rogers Park Auto Company Robbed

At approximately 6:20 a.m. on Jan. 17, an unknown offender broke into the property of Runge’s Auto and Tire in the 7400 block of N. Rogers Ave, causing damage to the front garage door and stealing property from within.

An unknown offender broke into the property of Runge’s Auto and Tire on the 7400 block of N. Rogers Ave., about two miles North from the Loyola Red Line stop, at approximately 6:20 a.m. on Jan. 17, according to a Chicago Police Department (CPD) press release. 

The individual caused damage to the front garage door of the business and took property from within the building, according to the press release. 

Tim Runge, partner of the business, said at about 6:15 a.m. while driving to work he received a phone call from a customer who told him they had noticed a maroon van stuck in the gate of the property.

Runge, 63, said when he arrived at the store at approximately 6:40 a.m., he found the front door open. Among the missing items were a variety of cases of beverages, checkbooks, all their keys, six knives, a box of bandaids and Runge’s prescription medication. 

Shortly after observing the extent of the damage, Runge said he called the police, who arrived on scene three minutes later. Evidence technicians and detectives arrived within the following hour, according to Runge.

At this time no suspects have been identified. 

Runge said he doesn’t currently have an exact damage estimate, but thinks it will cost thousands of dollars.

“Just to repair the shop door to make it work again was $1,500, plus the tools,” Runge said. “The biggest problem is that they swiped our checkbook, we had to close checking accounts down that we have had since 1950.”

Runge said 49th Ward Alderwoman Maria Hadden, who represents Rogers Park, stopped by the shop at about 10 or 11 a.m. on the day of the incident. 

“Runge’s has been a cornerstone of our community, showing an immense [amount] of concern and support for our neighbors,” Hadden said in an email to The Phoenix. “We have been heartened by the outpouring of support the community has shown them in the wake of this incident.”

Hadden said she and her office are committed to working with Runge’s through the police investigation. 

Runge said he doesn’t think there is anything Rogers Park as a community could do to prevent this from happening in the future.

“You have to start with society in general, and then you can worry about Rogers Park,” Runge said. “We are no different than any other neighborhood from here to little town Missouri. We all have problems, and I don’t see how anything is gonna change.”

Runge is a second generation owner of the store, which his father opened in 1965. His son currently works there and plans to take over the business in the future. Runge said he’s felt huge amounts of support from his customers and the people in the neighborhood. 

“I haven’t eaten this much food in probably 10 Christmases,” Runge said. “I have customers offering to sweep up and clean up, and customers giving monetary donations to help the cause.”

Runge said this incident hasn’t affected the business in any way, and for that Runge said he wants to give a “big thank you” to his community.

Lilli Malone

Lilli Malone