Undercover cop busts CTA pickpocket crew, prosecutors say

Left to right: Edward Miller, Randy Leavell, and Donald Wells | CPD

Undercover Chicago cops assigned to patrol CTA train lines took a three-man pickpocket team into custody after they saw the thieves steal a Blue Line passenger’s wallet in the Loop, according to prosecutors.

A covert officer allegedly watched as 63-year-old Randy Leavell, 59-year-old Donald Wells, and 60-year-old Edward Miller worked together to steal the billfold from a woman on the Clark-Lake train platform around 1:55 p.m. Tuesday.

While Wells and Leavell blocked the woman’s path, Miller walked up behind her, unzipped a pocket on her bookbag, and took her wallet, prosecutors said. 

Miller removed valuables from the wallet and then threw the billfold onto the train tracks before meeting up with the other two men on the escalator, according to allegations. 

The undercover officer radioed to back-up units who arrested the men at the top of the escalator.

Prosecutors charged all three men with felony theft. 

Leavell, who has 14 felony convictions and two pending reckless conduct cases, was ordered held on $10,000 bail. Judge John Lyke also ordered Leavell to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post the $1,000 deposit bond.

Lyke released Wells on his own recognizance with electronic monitoring. Wells has three felony convictions, including a 1999 robbery case in New Jersey that landed him in prison for 18 years, prosecutors said.

Miller, whose last felony conviction was more than 30 years ago, was released on his own recognizance.

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