Just two days after Miguel Hechavarria went home on electronic monitoring to await trial for a felony gun charge in August, he cut off his ankle monitor and walked out the door, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Until police arrested him on a Loop ‘L’ platform Sunday, authorities hadn’t seen or heard from him since. But he’s been keeping himself busy by allegedly robbing people at gunpoint on the city’s train system.
“It was the [electronic monitoring] that never really existed,” Judge Susana Ortiz said Tuesday. “The band was cut off. He simply walked away and abandoned it, and while on his frolic … he allegedly committed a crime of violence.”
Prosecutors charged Hechavarria with felony unlawful use of a weapon on July 28. With two other misdemeanor cases also pending, he went home on electronic monitoring August 7.
At 5:19 a.m. on August 8, the sheriff’s office received a “strap tamper” alert and lost communication with Hechavarria’s ankle monitor, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said yesterday.
They went to Hechavarria’s home and spoke with his cousin, who said they saw Hechavarria remove the ankle monitor and walk out the door, according to Murphy. Sheriff’s investigators found the broken bracelet in the house.
Murphy said that Chicago police have been looking for Hechavarria since October in connection with CTA train robberies. Prosecutors charged him with one case yesterday, and Murphy suggested that another charge is imminent.
Around 12:45 a.m. on October 20, Hechavarria ordered a man to give up his phone on a Red Line train near Chicago Avenue, Murphy said. When the victim refused, Hechavarria allegedly pulled out a silver revolver, pointed it at the man, and demanded the phone again. He got it that time.
Murphy said CTA surveillance cameras recorded the robbery, and an investigator recognized Hechavarria from the footage.
CTA cameras also recorded Hechavarria robbing a Green Line passenger one day later, Murphy said. That charge is pending.
Police recognized Hechavarria while patrolling Loop CTA stations over the weekend and took him into custody. Murphy said he gave investigators a “detailed statement.”
Among other things, Hechavarria told police that he cut off his electronic monitoring band because “he cannot be with his parents. Because he feels he is failing them,” Murphy said.
He allegedly claimed that he was forced to steal the Red Line passenger’s phone because two men told them that they would hurt him and take his gun if he didn’t do it. But he agreed that 12 jurors won’t believe that story, Murphy continued.
Hechavarria has previous felony convictions for two burglaries and theft, Murphy said.
Judge Ortiz ordered Hechavarria held without bail on the gun charge that put him on electronic monitoring in July. She set bail at $250,000 for the robbery case and $150,000 on an escape charge.
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