Man charged with 3 armed carjackings this month: “I just hang out and sometimes sh*t goes wrong”

David Ellis | CPD

Prosecutors have charged a man with participating in four violent robberies, including two carjackings, over five days earlier this month while he was on parole for another robbery case.

Last summer, while David Ellis was awaiting trial in the case he eventually pleaded guilty to, prosecutors charged him with robbing a Lyft driver on the Magnificent Mile. But a Cook County judge threw the case out within days claiming there was no probable cause to charge him, court records show.

“I don’t look for trouble,” Ellis allegedly told cops after they arrested him in the robbery spree last week. “I just hang out and sometimes sh*t goes wrong.”

On April 4, Ellis used a dating app to lure a man into a robbery at a gas station, prosecutors said. The 27-year-old victim allegedly recognized Ellis at the meet-up spot and began filling his Chevy Traverse with gas around 9:30 p.m.

Ellis and two other men approached him at the pumps and one of them pulled out a gun, prosecutors said. As the three men told him to empty his pockets, a fourth offender allegedly sucker-punched him in the side of the head. Ellis drove away with the victim’s car with the accomplices as passengers, according to prosecutors.

The victim found Ellis’ Facebook page, which had some of the same photos that appeared on the dating app profile he used to lure the victim in, prosecutors said.

Two days later, Ellis used the app to lure another victim into a trap, prosecutors said. The 25-year-old victim, who identifies as a female, told police she was walking up the stairs with Ellis when someone hit her on the back of the head and she blacked out.

She woke up in the hospital. Her phone, keys, Airpods, and car were gone, prosecutors said. According to prosecutors, she also located Ellis’ Facebook page and matched pictures from his account to images on the dating profile.

Ellis later told police that he hit the woman repeatedly because she “catfished” him, prosecutors said. He allegedly had her Airpods when they arrested him.

Doctors treated the woman for an acute subdural hematoma. She now suffers from headaches and short-term memory loss, prosecutors said.

The following day, Ellis and an accomplice punched, kicked, and stomped on a 23-year-old man as he prepared to get into his car to go to work, according to prosecutors. The victim fought back, but he gave up when the accomplice racked the slide of a handgun, the state said. He managed to take photos of another car the hijackers used — prosecutors say it’s the car Ellis took from the woman the night before.

Then, on April 9, a carload of carjackers pulled up to a 47-year-old man as he packed the family car for a road trip. Three offenders approached him and struck him in the head until he fell to the street.

One offender demanded the victim’s keys and the password to his phone. They drove away with his car, wallet, and phone.

That evening, a CPD license plate reader detected the man’s car traveling near Rush and Division streets. A federal law enforcement helicopter team tracked the vehicle until the driver bailed out on the 5400 block of South Maryland, prosecutors said. The helicopter crew continued to follow the driver’s heat signature until ground units moved in to arrest him. It was David Ellis.

Police also arrested an 18-year-old man who got out of the stolen car’s back seat and drove it for a short distance after Ellis allegedly got out.

Prosecutors said Ellis took cops to the spot where one of the other carjacked vehicles was parked.

Ellis is charged with three counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, robbery, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, and receiving or possessing a stolen motor vehicle.

Judge Charles Beach ordered him held without bail.

While Ellis may believe that “sometimes sh*t goes wrong” for him while he’s hanging out, it appears that things often go pretty well for him in Cook County criminal court.

In November 2019, he was charged with robbery and unlawful restraint for allegedly helping two other men beat and rob a University of Chicago student on the school’s Hyde Park campus.

That victim told police three men approached him from opposite directions, punched him in the face, and beat him to the ground as they took his backpack and ordered him to give up his phone password.

Ellis and a juvenile were arrested nearby. The 17-year-old had the victim’s backpack and Ellis had the man’s wallet, U of C police said.

With the robbery case and an escape charge pending, Ellis was arrested at the Chicago Red Line station last August after a Lyft driver told police that Ellis robbed him while riding in his car on the Magnificent Mile.

Prosecutors said Ellis had $900 cash in his possession when cops arrested him. He denied robbing the Lyft driver but said he did take the man’s phone charger by mistake, an assistant state’s attorney said.

Less than two weeks later, Judge Anjana Hansen ruled that there was no probable cause in the Lyft robbery allegations and she threw the case out.

On February 9, prosecutors agreed to drop the escape case and the U of C robbery charge if Ellis would plead guilty to a lesser count of unlawful restraint. He did. A judge sentenced him to 15 months and gave him 354 days credit for time served before pleading.

Ellis reported to Stateville Correctional Center on February 11 and was released the same day because his sentence was offset entirely by a 50% reduction for good behavior and the time served credit. The Illinois Department of Corrections is now considering revoking parole in his unlawful restraint case due to the latest allegations.

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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