Out of prison for 16 days, he’s now charged with stealing blind man’s guitar

Maurice Williams is accused of stealing a blind man’s guitar on the Jackson Blue Line platform. | Jacob G. via Wikipedia; Cook County Sheriff

Sixteen days after Maurice Williams got out of prison for three felony theft convictions, he wound up back in police custody after he allegedly stole a blind man’s guitar at the Jackson Blue Line station.

You may remember Williams. We wrote about the 44-year-old almost exactly one year ago after prosecutors charged him with stealing iPads, cell phones, and credit cards from restaurants in Uptown.

He pleaded guilty and received a two-year sentence plus two one-year sentences to be served concurrently. With time served before trial and Illinois’ standard 50% “good behavior” sentence reduction, Williams walked out of prison on Feb. 20.

Everything went swimmingly until about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7. That’s when police say he stole a blind musician’s guitar on a Loop subway platform and hopped on a train.

“This was a reprehensible act of cowardice against a member of our special needs community,” top CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Monday. Williams “should be ashamed.”

Police accessed CTA’s sprawling surveillance camera system and tracked Williams to a train on the Near West Side. They arrested him and returned the guitar to the victim.

Judge Arthur Willis ordered Williams held in lieu of $99,000 bail.

The guitarist, Juan Hernandez, frequently plays for money on CTA platforms downtown. He told the Chicago Tribune, “Jackson Blue Line has become increasingly dangerous. When I’m playing, the same people are asking around for money, spare change and just hanging around, so I don’t feel safe in that spot.”

Williams has amassed more than 80 criminal cases under more than 20 aliases in Cook County, court records show.

Before his latest prison term, he served six months of a one-year sentence for theft in 2018; two years for theft in 2016; three years for narcotics in 2014; 30 months for retail theft in 2012; three years for retail theft in 2011; seven years for burglary of a school or place of worship in 2006; two years for retail theft in 2005; three years for retail theft in 2003; four years for burglary in 2001; a concurrent four years for burglary in 2001; one year for narcotics in 1998; another six years for cocaine distribution in 1998; and four years for burglary in 1996.

He’s due back in court on Friday.

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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