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Articles Posted in Theft

Over the past two years, the number of carjackings in Chicago and across the country has conspicuously risen. Whether the matter is indirectly related to the pandemic, concerns about overcrowded prison cells, or something else entirely is a matter of intense debate. Another matter under debate is the problem that a number of the individuals committing the carjackings appear to be juveniles. 

In one case, a victim describes detailing a client’s car when a young man approached him from behind and stuck the barrel of a gun in his back, demanding the keys. The man handed the keys over to the teen who then proceeded to strike him in the bridge of the nose before stealing the car. The car had an anti-theft system and was easily disabled remotely. It was then found abandoned hours later. 

With anti-theft systems making carjackings more or less purposeless, one would imagine that carjacking would decrease. Yet that has not been the case. Why not? Well, the payoff, in fact, may not be the car at all, but the actual jacking.

The last time you heard about an ORC you were likely watching Lord of the Rings. Nonetheless, “organized retail crime” is becoming a major issue for Chicago retailers. CPD released a statement announcing a crackdown on organized retail crime after a 15-year-old was arrested and charged with 21 counts of theft from a beauty store. 

The problem for police is that it appears that teenagers are being used to carry out the crimes, are paid by adults for the merchandise they pocket, and then that merchandise is sold over eBay or related services for profit. Police believe that the conspiracy employs children because they are less likely to face serious criminal charges. They also hide the identities of the adults who are profiting from the theft. The children are paid a fraction of the cost of the merchandise. This makes it a win-win for both children and adults. However, the retail stores and the very backbone of our economy are placed at risk by retail thefts. 

Police have announced that they intend to track the merchandise and sales and come down hard on those who resell the stolen merchandise on the black market. 

Two Chicago-area brothers are facing charges related to the fencing of stolen merchandise from their electronics store. The brothers are believed to have knowingly acquired the stolen merchandise, which is important for their successful prosecution. Authorities say that the merchandise was stolen from railcars and then sold to the brothers by thieves. They then repackaged laptops, fitbits, and other electronic devices for sale in other states and countries. 

Transportation of Stolen Goods

There are several statutes that the brothers can be charged under, but in this case, they are only being charged with selling and transporting the stolen goods, not with actually stealing them. You can bet that if federal prosecutors had evidence of the brothers stealing the goods or being involved in the theft, that the charges would have been much higher. That is because theft of interstate commercial goods are prosecuted under The Hobbes Act which is an anti-organized crime and racketeering legislation that allows for enhanced penalties related to the interference of interstate commerce. In this case, the brothers avoided penalties under the Hobbes Act because they did not use force or coercion to acquire the goods.

Illinois prosecutors have charged six individuals in conjunction with a luxury vehicle theft ring. Authorities say that the culprits targeted luxury dealerships around the state using stolen or fraudulent identities and fraudulent bank information. Two ringleaders are believed to have recruited four others in the scheme. 

Officials have said that the theft of luxury vehicles using identity theft is becoming a bigger problem for luxury car dealerships. This high-profile bust will help Chicago police reassure car dealerships that the matter is being taken seriously. 

The bust was part of Operation Free Ride, which is a multi-state investigation into seemingly unrelated car thefts. While each of these cases appear on the surface to be an individual event, authorities believe that the same culprits are targeting multiple dealerships and then selling the vehicles on the black market, or shipping them overseas where they can charge thousands more. 

Authorities say that 22-year-old Kiar Evans shot into one vehicle, then carjacked another all over the course of a single week. The carjacking charge is punishable by up to a 15-year sentence. He is being held without bond after his initial appearance. 

Evans was caught after someone phoned in a reckless driver. A police helicopter was able to catch up with Evans and follow his stolen vehicle off of the Eisenhower Expressway. After Evans exited the vehicle, he walked up to another vehicle, knocked on the window, and attempted to pull open the door, but the door was locked and the window was up. Evans then pulled a handgun with an extended magazine and fired two shots into the passenger-side window. The driver sped off before Evans could hijack the vehicle.

Evans then approached another vehicle with his gun out and ordered the driver to exit the car. The driver complied, and Evans had another vehicle. Meanwhile, the police helicopter stayed on Evans before the stolen vehicle was found in a multi-vehicle crash about two miles from the scene of the carjacking. Evans was arrested there.

Strange headline, but nonetheless, true. A Gary Councilman (Ronald G. Brewer), who had his Lexus stolen, tracked the thieves back to Chicago where he caught up with them. He was accused of discharging his weapon at the teens, confining them against their will, and taking one of the teens back to Gary with him. The charges against him have all been dismissed after the former councilman completed a pretrial diversion program. It is unclear what that pretrial diversion was, but it very easily could have been an anger management program.

At the time of the incident, Brewer was the president of the Gary city council.

Where is the Crime?

A Chicago woman is facing 11 counts of misdemeanors and felonies after she crashed a stolen Jeep during a police chase that crossed state lines. She was initially noticed when her Jeep was spotted doing 83 in a 70mph zone. Police pulled the vehicle over, initially without incident, but the arresting officer recognized that the vehicle was never placed in park and that the driver had her foot on the brakes. The trooper smartly did not approach the vehicle and instead issued verbal commands to place the vehicle into park and lower her window. Instead of doing that, the woman took off in her stolen Jeep.

Another trooper down the road was alerted to the woman approaching in the Jeep. The trooper was retrieving stop sticks from the road when the Jeep approached. The woman swerved to avoid the parked police cruiser but ended up crashing into a Kia Optima anyway. The driver continued after the crash, but the Jeep was damaged. Eventually, the woman was forced to stop the Jeep. That is when she was arrested.

Tallying Up the Charges

A Texas woman is being charged with felony embezzlement after returning a VHS tape of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, 20 years after its due date. The woman told authorities that she had never rented the tape, but at the time, she was seeing a young man with two young daughters. The tape was never returned, and now the woman is facing felony charges

In March of 2000, the woman was charged with felony embezzlement of a rental property. However, no one went out looking for the major criminal. So 21 years later, the woman was trying to get her name changed after a recent marriage, and that is when she found out she was a wanted felon.

What is Embezzlement?

File this one under Crime in the 21st Century. A teen live-streamed himself smoking pot with a gun in his lap after eluding police during a traffic stop. Antonio Butler has been charged with five counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking, armed robbery with a firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle, and more. Prosecutors also hinted that the crime spree was still under investigation, and that the teen may face additional charges. Since Butler is 18 years of age, he will be tried as an adult. 

The Spree

The Audi was stolen on March 25. It was then reported in an armed robbery, but Butler was able to get away. Later that day, the Audi was reported in two gas station robberies, a carjacking, and another armed robbery. Police eventually caught up with the vehicle and found Butler asleep inside. They tapped on the window to wake him up and then broke through the window to get him out. Butler hit the gas and drove the Audi into police vehicles, before successfully fleeing the scene. He then posted a video to Instagram showing him smoking marijuana with a gun in his lap while bragging about losing the police.

Two Chicago teens have been charged with carjacking and threatening to shoot the woman whose vehicle they stole. The incident occurred on the Southwest side of Chicago. The teens are accused of pulling a 58-year-old woman from her vehicle, threatening to shoot her, and then driving away with her car. Police were able to track down the vehicle less than two hours later. They arrested one of the teens at that time. 

While both assailants are under the age of 18, the older of the two, a 17-year-old, is facing charges for vehicular hijacking and aggravated robbery. The 15-year-old is facing one count of criminal trespass to a vehicle. Both teens will make their first appearance in juvenile court, but the 17-year-old is likely to be charged as an adult for violently depriving someone else of their property.

What is Vehicular Hijacking?

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