Lakeview: Cops Celebrate “Robbery” Arrest, But Prosecutors Only Pursue Misdemeanors

Caleb Motsinger (inset) was charged with misdemeanor theft and misdemeanor battery. | CPD; Google

The 19th District (Town Hall) Police called the incident a robbery, but prosecutors in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office only charged the accused man with a couple of misdemeanors.

Around 2 a.m. Saturday morning, a group of people was standing outside a theater at 851 West Belmont when 28-year-old Caleb Motsinger of downstate Christopher, IL, began punching a man, according to court records. A 35-year-old Albany Park man told police that Motsinger struck him repeatedly in the face and body until bystanders intervened.

Then, Motsinger grabbed the man again, removed the victim’s sweatshirt and hat, and ran away with the clothing, according to allegations. Cops and bystanders caught up with Motsinger and he was arrested nearby in the 800 block of West Fletcher.

Police said the victim suffered a cut in his mouth, a stiff neck, and bruises to his jaw and knee.

Monday morning, the local police district celebrated the arrest on Twitter:

After a man was beaten and robbed in the 800 block of Belmont early Saturday morning, community members who witnessed the incident held the offender until police arrived. We don’t want anyone getting hurt doing so, but a shout out is in order for getting involved.

But prosecutors decided not to charge Motsinger with robbery. He’s only charged with misdemeanor counts of battery and theft. He was released on a recognizance bond without even appearing before a judge, according to court records.

Under Illinois law, robbery is a felony that is defined as taking something from another person by force or threat of force.

But instead of charging Motsinger with robbery, prosecutors filed separate, lesser charges of battery (striking another person) and theft (taking property from another without force).

The decision to file the lesser charges could indicate that prosecutors believe the theft was a separate act from the battery. Another possibility is that they filed the lesser charges to get the court case started while planning to seek robbery charges from a grand jury. Either way, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday afternoon.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is