Teen Faces Felonies in Rideshare Carjacking

An 18-year-old who ordered a ride from Lyft is now facing carjacking charges after police say he hailed the ride with the sole intention of stealing the car. Cornelius Carr has been charged with vehicular hijacking and armed robbery

According to the driver, he was on his way to pick up a fare when two teens approached his vehicle wearing masks and surgical gloves. They got into the back seat, and one of the teens demanded the driver’s keys and money. The driver complied, and the two teens drove off with the stolen car. The vehicle was recovered later with the plates removed. Police were able to track the account used to hail the Lyft driver back to Cornelius Carr. The Lyft driver then identified him in a lineup, according to police. The police did not say how this was accomplished when the teens were wearing masks.

The Case Against Carr

The case against Carr is not good. The account used to hail the vehicle is linked to him, but the entire case against the defendant is built on that fact plus one direct victim identifying a suspect he initially said was wearing a mask. Further, Carr has no criminal record and as a student at Legal Prep Charter Academy would likely know better than to hail a vehicle with his own account to rob the driver at gunpoint. 

If the police want to convict Carr, they will need to do better than that. Nonetheless, Carr will need to provide a good reason why his phone was used to hail a Lyft vehicle that was involved in an armed robbery. This will include providing the police with information concerning how his phone or account got into the hands of someone who used it. While the hail may be linked to Carr’s account, the police will also need to prove it was linked to Carr’s phone. In other words, they will need to prove that the account was hacked and that it originated from another phone. Chances are good that the actual culprit is someone who Carr knows if he did not commit the crime himself. So, he may not want to be forthcoming with that information given the severity of the charges. Nonetheless, Carr does not seem like a good candidate as a suspect having no priors.

The eyewitness testimony will not stick and may even be excluded from the case. The defendant was fingered by the victim several months later and asked to identify him in a lineup. The defendant originally claimed the carjacker was masked, so how that works is questionable. The police will need at least one other piece of evidence that ties Carr to the crime scene. Otherwise, the case against Carr does not look good.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested based on eye-witness testimony, do not provide the police with any more information that could be used to convict you. Eye-witness testimony is a shaky foundation for a case. The Chicago criminal defense attorney, David Freidberg, can ensure you are not convicted on a speculative prosecution or lazy police work. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to learn more about how we can help. 

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