Convicted carjacker, on parole for gun crime, busted with another gun in Uptown, cops say

Joseph Whitsett and the gun that police say he dropped while they chased him in Uptown. | IDOC; CPD

Back in 2005, Joseph Whitsett received a 25-year sentence for carjacking. Still, he managed to be out of prison by 2018 when he was convicted of illegal gun possession. He got six years for that. Yet, he was out of prison again this week when cops say they saw him ditch a loaded and defaced handgun in Uptown. He’s in jail again. At least for a little while.

Police were on patrol Tuesday when they saw Whitsett drinking from a cup on the 4900 block of West Kenmore, prosecutors said. When they asked him what was in the cup, Whitsett allegedly took off running while holding his waistband.

As officers chased the 37-year-old, they allegedly saw him pull an object from his waistband and toss it on the ground. After cops caught up with him, they retraced their steps and found a loaded handgun with a defaced serial number where Whitsett dropped the object, prosecutors said.

He’s now charged with armed habitual criminal and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $100,000 and ordered him to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post a $10,000 deposit bond.

Ironically, Whitsett was charged with armed habitual criminal in the 2018 gun case, but prosecutors agreed to drop that more serious count in a plea deal, according to court records. He was released early from prison on July 13.

In addition to that case and his 25-year sentence for carjacking 15 years ago, Whitsett also went to prison for narcotics in 2003 and 1999. In 2001, he went to prison for aggravated battery.

Whitsett seemed unconcerned when Judge Willis told him the Illinois Department of Corrections asked to have him held without bail while they consider revoking his parole.

“Alright,” Whitsett said. “I got two more months left dealing with IDOC and that’s over.”

“Good luck,” Willis replied.

Update March 11, 2022 — Whitsett pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm while on parole in exchange for a six-year sentence. Judge Michael Hood sentenced Whitsett and oversaw the case. Prosecutors dropped Class X armed habitual criminal and four other felonies in the plea deal, according to court records.

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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