Not long after two armed men forced a 46-year-old driver out of his $75,000 Audi SUV as he waited to pick up his child from school near Clark Street and North Avenue last Wednesday afternoon, police found the stolen car and arrested the man who was driving it after he crashed into another motorist.
But the victim of the crash refused to pursue felony charges and the Audi’s owner couldn’t identify the man who crashed his car in a photo line-up. So, the accused man was released on a misdemeanor recognizance bond.
CWBChicago has learned the person police arrested with the victim’s Audi A8 was on bond for driving another car taken in an armed carjacking earlier this year. And investigators have linked last Wednesday’s carjacking near the Latin School of Chicago to a series of other violent hijackings across the city — including one that targeted another man who was waiting for his own child outside of a different school and one that took place inside the parking garage of an exclusive Lincoln Park co-op building.
Audi taken, arrest made
Within hours of last Wednesday’s carjacking near the Latin School, members of CPD’s vehicular hijacking task force found the stolen Audi in south suburban Dolton and arrested the person who was driving it.
“Extensive vehicle tracking surveillance, combined with other technology-based tools, were used to quickly identify and locate this repeat offender,” Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said in an email to constituents the next day. “Once located, the offender attempted to flee but was apprehended.”
Dolton resident Julius Livingston, 36, was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle, misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident, and was ticketed for running a red light. Then, he was sent on his way because the crash victim refused to assist with felony charges.
Last week wasn’t the first time Livingston allegedly tried to speed away from cops who were trying to arrest him for driving a hijacked car.
On April 2, two men took a man’s Mercedes at gunpoint while he helped her daughter loaded bags into the car on the 800 block of North Wood in West Town, prosecutors would say during a bond court hearing for Livingston the following day. The Mercedes sped away with some accomplices following in a tail car.
When police found the car in Dolton a few hours later, Livingston was allegedly behind the wheel. He got out, ran to another vehicle parked nearby, and drove away, prosecutors said.
Police chased him until he crashed into a tree. Officers found the keys to the carjacked Mercedes in his pocket, prosecutors said. But he did not match the physical description of the two men who confronted the victim, so he was charged with felony receiving-possessing a stolen motor vehicle.
During the April bond hearing, prosecutors said his felony convictions included a 2012 forgery. “The rest are guns and drugs,” a prosecutor told Judge David Navarro.
Livingston’s defense attorney said he was going to truck driving school, started his own trucking company, and mentors at-risk youth in his neighborhood.
“Look,” Judge Navarro said after hearing from the attorneys, “we’ve got a stolen car, and then we’ve got, like, this subsequent jumping into another car — crashes … If you’re trying to start a trucking business, this is not the way to be starting.”
He then set Livingston’s bail at $50,000.
A pattern and a reward
Investigators have linked last week’s carjacking near the Latin School to several other hijackings across the city, mainly because a specific white Volvo was seen carrying accomplices and fleeing with newly stolen cars.
According to a reward poster issued by Cook County Crime Stoppers, the Volvo, which police recently recovered, was itself carjacked in Oak Park on September 7.
In one case, two armed men took a victim’s white 2017 Land Rover while he waited for his child outside William H. Brown Elementary School in West Town around 2:20 p.m. on September 13 — two days before the Audi driver was carjacked outside the Latin School.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case.
The next day, on September 14, the Volvo was used by carjackers who confronted a woman inside a co-op building parking garage on the 2400 block of North Lakeview in Lincoln Park.
The 32-year-old woman was getting out of her car when two men with guns ordered her to hand over her keys and valuables. She complied, and they drove away with her blue 2020 Audi SUV, CPD spokesperson Karie James said.
Police determined the same white Volvo, bearing stolen license plate CU96017, was used by the carjackers, according to a police report.
Chicago police continue to investigate the carjackings.
Tips regarding the carjacking outside Brown Elementary can be shared with Crime Stoppers at 800-535-STOP or via email: TIPS@cookcountycrimestoppers.org
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:20 a.m. on September 23 to correct erroneous information about *which* victim refused to press felony charges. The incorrect information, which was provided by CPD, reportedly stemmed from an imprecise entry in the case file.