Just days after Chicago police warned that thieves are stealing motorized scooters from parking spaces on the Near North Side, cops have arrested a man who was allegedly riding one of the stolen two-wheelers. But he’s not charged with actually taking it.
Last week, police said someone had stolen six scooters between July 18 and July 21 from legal parking spots between Streeterville and Old Town.
The very next day, patrol officers saw Rayquan Griffin driving a motor scooter without a license plate, according to prosecutors. The cops tried to pull him over after Griffin allegedly drove on the wrong side of the road and ran a red light.
Griffin, age 20, stopped, got off the scooter, and ran, prosecutors said. Cops caught him and later learned that the motorbike he was riding was stolen from the 100 block of East Bellevue in the Gold Coast on July 24, police said.
The scooter’s owner told police that it was secured with a disc brake locking mechanism when it was taken.
Prosecutors charged Griffin with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle and attempted fleeing and eluding of police.
When his defense attorney argued that “there is no indication that my client knew” the scooter was stolen, Judge Charles Beach fired back, “Other than him running away on foot?”
Beach then released Griffin on his own recognizance.
Detectives in their community alert last week did not describe the person who’s responsible for the scooter thefts, nor did they explain how the scooters are being taken.
But a source said the theft problem is significantly more pervasive and widespread than the limited number of cases that police detailed last week. One source said the thieves wear construction vests and use pick-up trucks and vans to haul the scooters away, even in broad daylight. The thefts reportedly appear to be the work of an organized crew.