A convicted murder who’s also a three-time convicted robbery offender got out of jail on three pending felony cases last September because a community bail fund — which claims to be “truly grounded in the presumption of innocence for all” — posted his bond, prosecutors say. About two months later, he allegedly forced a woman into the back room of a West Loop pet store and robbed the place.
Did we mention he is also on parole?
“Despite the defendant stating during the course of [of the pet store robbery], ‘I never do this,’ he in fact has done this on at least three prior occasions,” Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said during Oscar Grissett’s bond court appearance Friday.
The incredible story begins on March 20 of last year when Grissett was released from prison after serving half of a four-year sentence for conspiracy to commit robbery.
Less than five months later, prosecutors charged him with two counts of felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle and felony burglary. Judge David Navarro set his bail at $25,000 on August 7.
Grissett, 48, wasn’t in jail for long.
The Bail Project, a charitable non-profit that raises money to “combat the injustices” of cash bail, posted his bond on September 25, Scaduto said.
While he was on bail, Grissett allegedly came to possess another stolen car and then drove it to Paws Naturals pet store at 932 West Monroe on December 1, according to prosecutors.
Grissett walked in shortly after 8 p.m. as a store employee was tagging merchandise, Scaduto said. He asked her to help him find a dog toy in the $25 price range. She did.
At check-out, Grissett peered into the register, said “I never do this,” and came around the counter with his hand in his pocket while indicating that he had a gun, Scaduto said Friday.
He allegedly told the worker to give him everything from the register, then walked her to the safe, which contained two bags of pennies, and told her not to leave the back room until he was gone, according to Scaduto.
Video allegedly shows Grissett walking in and out of the store and driving away in a stolen Toyota RAV-4 with separately-stolen license plates. Through a series of investigative techniques, police eventually found the RAV-4 parked steps from Grissett’s home, Scaduto said.
Police arrested him on December 8 and charged him with possessing a stolen motor vehicle. The next day, Judge Navarro set his bail at $10,000 on the stolen RAV-4 case and ordered him held without bail for violating the terms of release in his other three pending felonies.
When police took him into custody in December, Grissett was allegedly wearing the same jacket that the pet store robber wore. The store employee later identified Grissett in a photo line-up, and prosecutors charged him with aggravated robbery Friday.
During the hearing, Scaduto detailed Grissett’s “extensive background.”
In 2010, Grissett was sent to prison for two 15-year terms and a 9-1/2 year term for a pair of robberies and theft from a person. The sentences were served concurrently, and he was released after serving less than eight years.
Shortly after getting out, while still on parole, Grissett walked into a business, lifted his shirt, reached into his waistband, and repeatedly yelled “give me the money b*tch” as he robbed the establishment, Scaduto said.
That’s the case he is currently on parole for.
Back in 1992, Grissett received a 25-year sentence for murder. In that case, he was driving a stolen car and sped away from cops who tried to pull him over.
As he fled, Grissett ran over a 58-year-old tourist who was visiting Chicago for the Memorial Day weekend, Scaduto said. While he was in prison for the killing, he received 100 disciplinary violations, she said.
The tourist was run over about four weeks after Grissett completed parole on a two-year sentence he received for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.
After hearing all of this on Friday, Judge Susana Ortiz bail at $100,000 for the pet store robbery case and ordered Grissett to go onto electronic monitoring if he — or, perhaps the Bail Project — posts his bond.
Meanwhile, another judge recently reduced Grissett’s bond in his first three pending felony cases from no bail to $50,000 with electronic monitoring, according to Scaduto. She did not identify that judge by name.