Amid the George Floyd and Brianna Taylor protests, social unrest plagued America’s largest cities. Chicago was no exception. While some of these protests were going on, others took the opportunity to engage in burglary, theft, and destruction of property. Droves of people went block after block, looting one store after another. Four months after, detectives are still going over hour after hour of surveillance footage to identify individuals against whom they can file charges.
The police force is asking for tips on identifying suspects who were seen on camera looting Chicago stores. At the writing of this article, there have been over 1,300 tips based on over 100 clips of footage excavated from security feeds. Likewise, they have been monitoring online retail platforms like Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, and Facebook marketplace to determine if any of the stolen merchandise was placed for sale online.
The effort has resulted in the arrests of over 100 people. Most are felony charges related to theft, looting, destruction of property, fencing stolen goods, and weapons charges.
2020 has been a year of life-changing events. You had the pandemic starting in March. Then, the shooting death of George Floyd, and the protests and riots that followed. Then, the election. Each of these events was a major cataclysm and a shock to many Americans.
Despite the fact that many stores were destroyed during the summer looting, as well as their surveillance cameras, the video feed is generally stored on a cloud somewhere else, so even if the camera and all the equipment are destroyed, the video is not. As a result, the police have over 200 videos of surveillance from the riots and they are going through every second of it to see whom they can arrest. Since many of these folks were wearing masks because of the pandemic, it has made the police’s job more difficult.
How Do Police Identify Suspects?
When they do not have a face to go on, police can be crafty about finding just about anything that can lead to some clue as to the identity of someone seen on video. Tattoos, designer clothing, or other identifying markers are used to link suspects seen in videos with individuals out in the public. Looters, on the other hand, are hoping that the sheer volume of individuals engaged in the looting protects their identities from police. Thus far, police have been using jail records to capture victims which has led to a situation where the majority of those who are charged with looting have prior criminal records. Others, who have no record with police, have become more difficult to wrangle.
In other cases, police are watching for stolen goods that pop up online. Those charged with selling these goods can have other charges related to looting and rioting filed against them.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been charged with looting, theft, burglary, or destruction of property this past summer, call Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg at (312) 560-7100 to discuss the charges in more detail. We will come up with a strategy to defend you and ensure that the police are not basing their prosecution on blurry feeds or other speculation.