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Articles Posted in Theft

Call Guinness; it’s a new record! A South Side teen committed nine carjackings in one day. He has since been charged with 11 carjackings with a deadly weapon and two counts of damaging government property. No one was injured or killed during these carjackings. Instead, it appears to be an effort to commit as many carjackings as possible in as short a period of time as possible. While the carjacker is under 18, he is likely to be charged as an adult and face substantial prison time. His age will be considered a factor when sentencing him, but he will go to prison for these crimes.

Aggravated vehicular hijacking comes with a potential sentence of between four and 15 years. So, figuring this precocious teen will be sentenced toward the minimum because of his age, he still faces 44 years behind bars. That’s not good. Getting your name into Guinness isn’t a big enough payoff to spend the next 44 years of your life behind bars. 

Now What?

A 19-year-old man and seven others are accused of forcing their way into a Louis Vuitton store and stealing an estimated $77,000 in merchandise. In this case, each of the bags had trackers in them, and police were able to recover the trackers along the interstate. From the trackers, they were able to recover a palm print along with “other evidence” that placed one suspect at the scene of the crime. 

In terms of retail theft, the type of charge you face is related to the value of the merchandise. The law was updated in the past few years and now it is a felony to steal any merchandise valued at $1,000 or more. Prior to that, you only had to steal $150 worth of merchandise to qualify for a felony. However, due to inflation, the law was updated to reflect the minimal amount of buying power that $150 represents.

Those charged with felony retail theft can never expunge the offense from their record. Those charged with misdemeanor retail theft can. Hence, the stakes are quite high for 19-year-olds charged with retail theft. The state will still have to prove that the value of the stolen merchandise was greater than $1,000. Additionally, the palm print evidence may not be as strong as fingerprint evidence.

One brother is providing testimony against the other for a 45-year sentence after the two were involved in a robbery/homicide outside of a convenience store. The younger brother testified that his older brother handed him the gun he used to shoot the man. The victim was targeted after he was seen counting money outside of the convenience store. The two men then split the $50 he had on him.

The brother who did not provide testimony on behalf of the state is facing a mandatory life sentence if convicted. The younger brother testified that he pulled the trigger, but his older brother handed him the gun. The younger brother took $30 for pulling the trigger. 

Discrediting the Witness

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

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