Shoe thieves target teens

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Criminals are targeting teens and adults, not for money or electronics, but rather for what they wear.

The thieves are trying to steal their shoes. It's happened at least three times in a week in Indianapolis, on all sides of town.

They're cool on the court for kids and teens. Shoes that everyone wants to have, shoes that get you noticed.

"I like Jordans. I've been wearing them since he won his first championship," said Marcus Cook of Indianapolis.

They're so popular, certain athletic shoes can attract a crowd. In fact, chaos erupted when hundreds of shoppers broke down doors in a shoe stampede at Lafayette Square and Castleton Square Malls to buy Retro Jordans a few years ago.

But now in Indy, what people wear and what people want has crossed the line into crime. Metro Police are investigating three incidents in one week, where thieves are targeting people's shoes.

"That's sad. That's just sad you have to steal material items," said Kevin Tardy of Indianapolis.

"That's crazy. That's crazy. It's weird to me, too," Cook added.

In one case, a man was attacked and bloodied for his shoes while walking near his apartment on the city's north side. Another teenager had his Retro Jordans stolen when he met someone to sell them through Craigslist on the far east side. And in a neighborhood on the west side, someone someone tried to steal a teenager's shoes as he walked to school one morning. Luckily, the kid got away unharmed - and with his shoes.

"Here they are, just going to school or doing their day-to-day activities, and get accosted by a couple of knuckleheads, really," said IMPD Officer Christopher Wilburn. "It's not an epidemic, per se, but it's certainly a concern for us in the law enforcement community."

It's not a new crime. As a teenager, Wilburn himself had his shoes stolen.

"I myself was the victim of a similar crime as a child in Chicago," Wilburn said. "I was just wearing pair of white tennis shoes and then next thing you know, I was a victim of a crime. Now unfortunately, people look at an item, a high valuable item, and they think that, 'Hey, it can be easily taken.'"

"It's weird because people steal everything nowadays," Tardy said. "They take anything they want to. They can't work for themselves, that's all it is."

And recently, some thieves are even attacking kids, all for what's on their feet.

Metro Police advise teens to travel in groups. If they are targeted, investigators say they should get a good description of the suspect, file a police report and don't fight back, because the shoes just aren't worth it.