Loop phone thief caught red-handed, cops say

Deshawn Vaval is charged with stealing a woman’s phone from this Panda Express. | CPD; Google

Chicago police have repeatedly warned the public about phone thieves who are targeting diners at downtown restaurants. Now, police say, they have caught one of those phone thieves in the act of trying to re-sell a stolen phone minutes after swiping it.

Police were flagged down around 2:30 p.m. last Thursday after a woman’s phone was swiped from her table at Panda Express, 180 North Wabash. A description of the thief was broadcast on police radios and officers began searching CTA stations for suspects.

Within a few minutes, police saw 19-year-old Deshawn Vaval at the Roosevelt Red Line station. His clothing matched the thief, so officers approached him for a field interview.

As the cops approached, they heard that he was engaged in a conversation, trying to sell a phone to a stranger on the platform, according to court records.

Vaval was detained until the victim could identify him for police. While they waited for the woman to arrive, Vaval allegedly told officers that he took the phone from a restaurant and he was trying to sell it.

Prosecutors charged Vaval with felony theft. Judge Mary Marubio released him on a recognizance bond.
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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 news@cwbchicago.com