Prosecutors today released new details about an undercover CPD and U.S. Marshals operation that resulted in the arrests of two women who allegedly drugged and robbed a nightclub employee in River North early Sunday.
One of the women has been involved in at least 10 similar drug-induced robberies in Chicago, prosecutors said. The other has allegedly been connected to four of those cases. The state alleged that at least $85,000 in proceeds have been collected from victims by stealing phones and jewelry and using stolen credit cards at retail stores in the Milwaukee area.
Tiana Trammell, 25, and Tjwana Rainey, 32, appeared in separate bond hearings Tuesday afternoon to face charges of operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise and possession of a controlled substance.
Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Kiefer said the women ran a “fairly simple scheme” that targeted men in nightlife areas. While each crime’s specifics varied, the women offered each victim alcohol laced with a knock-out drug that rendered the men unconscious almost immediately, according to Kiefer.
Some of the victims regained consciousness while lying on the side of roads. Others awakened inside their own homes, while one was found at the Lake Forest oasis off Interstate 94, prosecutors said.
Early Sunday, CPD surveillance cameras recorded footage of the women literally carrying an unconscious nightclub employee from a bar to Trammell’s car, where they proceeded to remove his valuables, Kiefer said. Chicago police and deputy marshals, who had the women under surveillance for days, arrested them at the scene.
That victim told his story to CWBChicago today.
After the women were taken into custody, police found “many small vials of alcohol opened and filled to the top,” according to Kiefer. The liquid inside those bottles is being tested. Cops also located a handgun in the glove compartment of Trammell’s car. Kiefer said she is a licensed concealed carry holder.
Defense attorney Aaron Rosenblatt said Rainey is a licensed phlebotomist and certified nursing assistant who works at Milwaukee hospital. She has no criminal background.
Trammell’s public defender said she has one child and has another on the way.
“This alleged enterprise involves the…drugging of individuals,” Judge Charles Beach said after hearing the state’s charges. “Putting something into someone’s body and not knowing the result of it — affecting their body without them having a choice in it is an act of violence.”
“I am viewing this in some way as an act of violence,” he continued.
Beach then ordered Rainey held in lieu of $45,000 bail. She will need to post $4,500 to get out of jail before trial.
Noting Trammell has an outstanding warrant in Tennessee and lives in Wisconsin, Beach said, “flight is a real possibility” in her situation. He set her bail at $55,000. Even if she can post the $5,500 deposit bond to get out, she cannot travel to Wisconsin, Beach ordered.
After the club employee who was targeted Sunday told his story to CWBChicago, another North Side man contacted our team today to report a similar experience.
“It happened at the end of June 2019,” the man said. “A friend and I were at [a Gold Coast bar] around midnight. We had some drinks, then don’t remember leaving at all.” The man and his friend woke up at his Streeterville apartment around 1 o’clock the next afternoon.
“Both of our phones were missing, cash was gone from wallets. My laptop was there, but they had changed our iCloud passwords as well as passwords for credit cards,” the man said.
“Once we got those reset, I realized they had gone to 3 different Walmarts and 3 different Target stores around Milwaukee, charging thousands of dollars at each.”
Prosecutors on Tuesday specifically said Trammell used victims’ credit cards at Walmart and Target stores in Milwaukee.
The man, who filed a police report after the incident, said he is trying to contact Chicago police today for follow-up.
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