14-time felon stole purses from elderly cancer patient and nurse at Northwestern Hospital, prosecutors say

A 14-time convicted felon who’s on parole is charged with stealing purses from a nurse and a 74-year-old cancer patient in the Northwestern Memorial Hospital cafeteria.

Darryl Berry | IDOC

Prosecutors charged Darryl Berry, 58, with multiple counts of theft and identity theft during a bond court hearing Thursday for the crimes that allegedly took place in April and June. Berry was arrested at Northwestern on Wednesday after hospital security recognized him on the premises.

On June 30, Berry went into the hospital cafeteria, removed the elderly cancer patient’s purse from her chair, and walked out of the building, prosecutors said. The bag contained a $6,000 gold and diamond necklace, $100 cash, and credit cards. Video surveillance at a Loop convenience store allegedly shows Berry using the woman’s credit card to purchase $98 worth of merchandise about an hour after the theft.

Back on April 7, while the hospital had limited staffing and few visitors due to the COVID pandemic, Berry entered the same cafeteria and used his foot to pull a nurse’s purse away from her as she ate lunch, prosecutors said.

Both thefts were captured on hospital surveillance video, and Northwestern’s security director immediately recognized Berry on the videos from previous contacts, according to the state’s allegations.

Berry is on parole after he served three years of a six-year sentence that he received for aggravated identity theft of a victim over age 60, theft from person, and felony theft, in 2017.

Judge Arthur Willis cited Berry’s alleged decision to target a cancer patient and a nurse who was working during the height of the COVID pandemic as factors in setting bail at $100,000. Willis also ordered Berry held without bail while the state considers revocation of his parole.

Before Berry’s latest prison stint, he was incarcerated for:

  • 4 years for theft in 2012
  • 3 years for theft from person in 2010
  • 3 years for retail theft in 2005
  • a concurrent 4 years for theft from person in 2005
  • 3 years for retail theft in 2003
  • 2 years for theft in 2002
  • 30 months for theft from person in 2001
  • 2 years for narcotics in 1998
  • 2 years for forgery in 1995
  • 4 years for theft in 1993
  • 2 years for theft in 1979

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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