16-time convicted felon gets probation for stealing purses from an elderly cancer patient and a nurse at Northwestern Hospital

Darryl Berry | CPD

A 16-time convicted felon has received probation after being charged with stealing purses from a 74-year-old cancer patient and a nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital as the COVID pandemic swept into the city last year.

Prosecutors initially charged Darryl Berry, 59, with multiple counts of theft and identity theft for the crimes that allegedly took place in April and June 2020. Berry was arrested at Northwestern after hospital security recognized him on the premises in August last year.

In the first theft, while the hospital had limited staffing and few visitors due to the COVID pandemic, Berry entered the hospital cafeteria and used his foot to pull a nurse’s purse away from her as she ate lunch, prosecutors said. Surveillance cameras recorded the incident.

Two months later, Berry returned to the cafeteria, removed the elderly cancer patient’s purse from her chair, and walked out of the building, prosecutors said. The bag contained a $6,000 gold and diamond necklace, $100 cash, and credit cards. Video surveillance at a Loop convenience store allegedly showed Berry using the woman’s credit card to purchase $98 worth of merchandise about an hour after the theft.

Now, Berry has pleaded guilty to two counts of theft in connection with the crimes at Northwestern. Prosecutors dropped an aggravated identity theft case involving the elderly victim.

Judge Aleksandra Gillespie sentenced Gillespie to serve two years probation and perform 30 hours of community service.

Berry was on parole at the time of the incidents for identity theft of a victim over age 60, theft from person, and felony theft. Records show he served only half of his six-year sentence before the state released him from prison.

Before Berry’s those prison sentences, he was incarcerated for:

  • 4 years for theft in 2012
  • 3 years for theft from person in 2010
  • 3 years for retail theft in 2005
  • a concurrent 4 years for theft from person in 2005
  • 3 years for retail theft in 2003
  • 2 years for theft in 2002
  • 30 months for theft from person in 2001
  • 2 years for narcotics in 1998
  • 2 years for forgery in 1995
  • 4 years for theft in 1993
  • 2 years for theft in 1979

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Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. He can be reached at tim@cwbchicago.com