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Four men accused of brazenly stealing several cellphones from a St. John store might be linked to dozens of cellphone thefts and burglaries throughout Northwest Indiana and the Chicago area, police said.

St. John police released a surveillance video, which showed the men entering the T-Mobile store, 10033 Wicker Ave., together about 7:30 p.m. Thursday. They grabbed items off a display counter and fled in about 10 seconds.

The men drove away from the T-Mobile store in a green Pontiac Aztek SUV, St. John police Cmdr. Steve Flores said.

Anyone with information about the men's identities is asked to contact Flores at sflores@stjohnin.com or 219-365-6035.

It's unclear how valuable stolen cellphones are. Flores said he's been told stolen cellphones can be sold in the black market overseas, where buyers have the capability of unlocking them.

The St. John suspects' method of operation is similar to a theft from a cellphone store Monday at Southlake Mall, Hobart police Capt. James Gonzales said. There were four suspects in Hobart's case.

Hammond police 

were dispatched about 11 a.m. Friday to a robbery at the AT&T store in the 1000 block of Fifth Avenue, Lt. Steven Kellogg said.

Employees told police three men entered the store, displayed guns and demanded cellphones. The three took 30 to 40 cellphones and an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

The suspects were described as younger black males with slender builds and ski masks.

The suspects exited the back door of the business and fled in an undisclosed vehicle toward Chicago, Kellogg said.

Schererville police Cmdr. Jeff Cook said it's hard to say if the suspects in the St. John case might be the same people who threw a rock through a front glass window early Wednesday and stole merchandise at the AT&T store at 1150 U.S. 41. The method of operation is different, he said.

In Schererville's case, the men gained entry at 2:47 a.m. and fled the scene at 2:48 a.m.

Anyone with information about Schererville case is asked to call Detective Chris Goldasich at 219-322-5000, ext. 2319.

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Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.