An alleged juvenile carjacker made a crucial mistake Saturday when he told arresting officers that he’d be out of jail in a day and would then track them down and shoot them: He wasn’t in Cook County anymore.
Now, prosecutors in suburban DuPage County are asking a judge to transfer the teen’s case to adult court.
Saturday night, the teen and two accomplices threatened to kill a 20-year-old woman as they robbed and carjacked her at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Popeye’s restaurant in suburban Addison, DuPage authorities said.
Addison police and the Illinois State Police helicopter tracked the stolen car to Chicago’s South Side. As cops approached the car, the occupants ran away. But Chicago police officers caught the 17-year-old nearby and turned him over to officers from DuPage County.
As the suburban cops drove the teen out of Chicago, he said “he would be out of custody in a day and come find [them] and shoot them,” according to a DuPage County statement.
“What I find particularly troubling in this case is the allegation that the defendant stated that he believes he will not be held in custody pending his trial and that he threatened to kill police officers during this time,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said.
Five years ago, Illinois legislators removed aggravated vehicular hijacking from the list of crimes that automatically put juveniles age 15 or over in adult court. The state law revision was championed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Preckwinkle’s chief of staff at the time was Kim Foxx, who is now serving her second term as Cook County State’s Attorney.
We asked Foxx’s office if Cook County prosecutors consider asking judges to charge juveniles as adults for aggravated hijacking cases.
A spokesperson said the office does “consider charging options when appropriate to do so based on the facts, case evidence, the minor’s criminal background and the law.”
We also asked how many juveniles Foxx’s office tried to transfer to adult court for carjackings in the past year. Her office did not respond to that question.
However, a review of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office online database shows no juveniles charged as an adult with carjacking since February 2019.
The database lists a total of 68 hijacking cases with defendants under the age of 18 in adult court since 2011. All are listed as being 17-years-old.
Before the state banned the automatic transfer of aggravated hijacking cases, twelve 17-year-olds per year were charged with the crime in Cook County’s adult courts on average.
Since the law took effect in 2016, a total of seven juvenile hijacking cases have been moved to adult court — slightly more than one per year, according to the data. And not one juvenile has been charged as an adult with aggravated vehicular hijacking in the county since February 2019, the database shows.