24-year-old Darius Young will face charges related to a two-day crime spree during which he held up a UPS driver in broad daylight. Young will face one count of armed robbery, which will be prosecuted under the federal Hobbs Act.
The UPS driver says that he was approached from behind when a man ordered him to the ground. The man held the gun on him while two of his buddies rifled through the truck and removed packages. They sped off together in a “light-colored” vehicle.
During the robbery, however, a witness who was parking his car noticed the UPS driver face-down on the ground while several men were removing packages from the truck. The witness was able to record some of the robbery on his phone and emailed the evidence to Oak Park police.
Officers were paying special attention to this block because another vehicle had been carjacked earlier in the week and dumped in the neighborhood. They eventually caught up with a gray Kia that matched the description of the vehicle used in the robbery. When police spotted the vehicle, another suspect backed up in a hurry driving his vehicle into a tree. The suspect drove forward, striking an undercover police car. The men fled the vehicle. The driver dumped a gun in the ensuing chase.
What is the Hobbs Act?
The Hobbs Act is an anti-mafia legislation that was enacted primarily for the purposes of targeting labor unions. Its most frequent use involves targeting public officials and government employees for corruption. It focuses on robbery and extortion specifically and makes it easier to prosecute criminal conspiracies.
Why are these three men being charged under an act that typically targets public officials abusing power? Because they targeted a UPS truck.
Yes, while the Hobbs Act is typically employed in racketeering cases, its purpose has nothing to do with racketeering per se. The Hobbs Act is designed to protect the integrity of commerce from “bad actors” such as union “thugs” who extort members using fear or attempt to use intimidation to secure contracts. Since these gentlemen decided to pull a stick-up on a UPS truck, they too will be prosecuted under the Hobbs Act.
However, the fact that their crimes impacted interstate commerce is not the only element the federal government needs to prove. They also need to show that there was an ongoing conspiracy to commit robbery or extortion. For this element, they will prove their case using the defendant’s own confession. He told police that they had conducted multiple robberies.
The fact that they targeted a UPS truck coupled with the fact that they were on a robbery spree leaves them vulnerable to be prosecuted under legislation typically used to prosecute corrupt officials who use extortion under the color of law.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing either federal or state charges, the Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg can help defend you from the charges. Call us today at (312) 560-7100 to learn more about how we can keep you out of prison.