Live-streaming ATM looter in custody, cops say

Screen grab of the ATM looter (left) and Arron Neal. | CPD

A Chicago Lawn man is accused of taking part in the live-streamed dismantling of an ATM during widespread looting in the River North neighborhood Monday.

Police released an edited version of the live stream and asked for the public’s help in identifying the offenders Wednesday. Within 90 minutes of the video’s release, tipsters were calling police with the primary ATM looter’s name, according to CPD Supt. David Brown.

Now, 20-year-old Arron Neal has been identified as the genius behind the felonious live-stream, police say. All right. That wasn’t CPD’s exact phrasing.

Prosecutors charged Neal with felony burglary and felony criminal damage to property. Judge David Navarro set his bond at $1,000.

“I apologize,” Neal said as Navarro summarized the allegations against him.

Neal turned himself in after police contacted his grandmother. He allegedly admitted to hammering on the cash machine and making the Facebook Live video. The ATM is a total loss and will cost $2,315 to replace, according to prosecutors.

Two other men are seen helping with the ATM attack at 875 North State, but police did not announce any charges against them. At least, not yet.

If Neal is the person seen on the video — and boy, he sure does look like the guy — he won’t be able to say people didn’t warn him. In an unedited version of the burglary posted by CWBChicago, viewers are seen sending written comments that advise against broadcasting a felony in progress.

“Put the camera down while y’all do that,” one warned.

During a Saturday morning press conference, CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan praised members of the public who identified Neal from the video, “this is the way it’s supposed to work.”

Deenihan said two more looters have been arrested after they tried to sell high-end purses online this week.

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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