CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — With a rise in “smash-and-grab” robberies in cities across the country, Chicago Police are urging stores to install unbreakable glass shields over their existing windows.

According to CBS News, the shields, known as ArmorPlast, cost about $600 for a 3 x 3 foot square.

“We want to keep the bad guys outside the building – and that’s what the product does,” said Brad Campbell, founder of Riot Glass, the company that makes ArmorPlast.

“Our mission is to help prevent this and to stop this cycle,” Campbell said, “and Riot Glass is really the next evolution in product development specifically for smash-and-grab crimes.”

Tamer Jaradat, an employee at Western Food & Grocery, at 1358 N Western Avenue, said of a recent robbery, “He broke into the back door, just went straight here, grabbed the money from the cash register, speakers, and just ran. Three months ago, they broke in – they stole the ATM machine. Usually, people fear their lives too. Like, I have seven kids. If it takes me having to protect my life or my business, I’m going to do it.”

Last year, Gov. JB Pritzker signed the INFORM Act, a retail theft crime bill at Chicago’s Water Tower Place, which has been hit by mobs of teen robbers in recent years.

The law created create stiffer penalties for ringleaders of “smash and grab” thefts and makes it easier to prosecute them.

Those who violate the crime by knowingly engaging with others in a theft valued at $300 or more would be guilty of a Class 3 felony. Those who engage in retail theft from one or more establishments would be guilty of a Class 2 felony.

“Smash and grab” robberies have been an issue at malls and jewelry stores across the country, including Rockford.

In December 2021, Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force retrieved $1 million worth of stolen goods from storage units.

The law also requires online sellers to collect identification and contact information for people trying to sell many items at once.