Prosecutors: 20-time convicted felon stole motor scooters from North Side, sold them on West Side

Randall Brown | IDOC

A 20-time convicted felon who’s on parole for burglary is charged with stealing motorized scooters from parking spaces across the North Side. And long-time readers of CWBChicago may remember him from our reporting in 2016.

Prosecutors said Randall Brown, age 51, stole motor scooters on the North Side and resold them on the West Side since he was released on parole in April.

Brown was identified through surveillance camera footage of scooter thefts and a tipster.

A witness told police on July 16 that a White male who goes by the names Shawn Flynn and Randy Brown was transporting stolen scooters from the North Side to the West Side in a brown or tan pick-up truck, prosecutors said Friday. He then sold the stolen vehicles to buyers at deep discounts.

Investigators honed in on Brown after they ran his name through a law enforcement database and saw his photo and extensive criminal history.

Then, on July 30, Chicago police pulled over a gold Chevy pick-up truck for a traffic violation on the West Side. Brown was driving, and a motorized scooter was in the truck bed, prosecutors said. Officers contacted the scooter’s owner who was not yet aware that their scooter had been stolen, according to prosecutors.

Cops released Brown with a citation, and undercover investigators began tracking and surveilling his truck. Within hours, Brown returned to the city’s North Side, where covert officers watched him roll a scooter off the street, manipulate it with tools, and then ride away with the vehicle, prosecutors said. He was quickly arrested.

Prosecutors charged Brown with four counts of possessing a stolen motor vehicle in connection with four scooter thefts that were caught on camera. Judge Charles Beach set bail for Brown at $10,000, meaning Brown will need to post $1,000 to get out of jail. When he does, he will be required to stay in his house between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., but Beach did not place him on electronic monitoring.

Despite his lengthy criminal history, the Illinois Department of Corrections did not ask Cook County authorities to hold Brown for a parole violation in the scooter cases.

Investigators suspect Brown is responsible for significantly more than four scooter thefts. Police records show 148 scooter-type vehicles were stolen in the city between January 1 and July 24 this year. That compares to 186 such crimes in all of 2019.

Brown was paroled on April 15 after he served half of three concurrent 8-year prison terms for burglary that he received in 2016. CPD records show there were 22 scooter-type thefts before Brown was released and 122 in the months since he got out. Investigators suspect other thieves may have been involved in an organized ring with Brown.

This is not the first time Brown has been undone up by covert police units.

Back in 2016, a Wrigleyville resident called 911 to report two people filming porn in a parked car behind their home.

As it turned out, there was no porn being filmed. The people in the car were undercover cops who were using the video equipment to record Brown breaking into a nearby coach house. He was arrested when he stepped out of the home, and prosecutors charged him with three burglaries.

Before his three 2016 convictions, Brown’s prison sentences include:

  • One year for theft in 2011
  • Another year for theft in 2011
  • Ten years for burglary in 2010
  • Another ten years for receiving/possessing a stolen vehicle in 2010
  • 30 months for aggravated impersonation of police in 2005
  • Another 30 months for theft in 2005
  • Another seven years for aiding-abetting possession of a stolen vehicle in 2005
  • Another five years for forgery in 2005
  • Another two years for knowingly possessing a fake license in 2005
  • Four years for being a felon who failed to return from furlough in 2001
  • Six years for burglary in 2000.
  • Another 42 months for burglary in 2000
  • Five years for theft in 1998
  • Six years for receiving/possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 1997
  • Six years for unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle in 1993
  • Another three years for receiving/possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 1993
  • And yet another three years for theft in 1993.

Police issued a community alert about North Side scooter thefts on July 22. This week, police arrested a man in Humboldt Park who was riding a scooter that had been reported stolen in the Gold Coast.

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