It’s hard to believe, but Chicago’s carjacking surge has been going on so long, some of the cases that prosecutors filed in its early stages are reaching the sentencing stage. Here are the outcomes of some of those cases.
7 years for Wicker Park hijacking
Isaac Johnson pleaded guilty to carjacking a woman as she returned to her car after dropping off her child for summer camp at the Wicker Park Field House in August 2020. He was AWOL on a vehicular invasion case at the time.
Two men tried to grab the 45-year-old woman’s purse, but she fought back. Johnson took control of her keys and got into her blue Volvo, prosecutors said. Then, the other offender got into her car’s back seat and pointed a gun at the woman, according to allegations made in bond court.
A witness who saw the confrontation started to intervene, but they backed off when the victim said one of the men had a gun, prosecutors said. Johnson and the other man sped away with the woman’s car, followed by a black SUV occupied by other offenders.
Less than an hour later, cops found the woman’s car in a parking lot on the 4100 block of West Roosevelt with Johnson in the passenger seat, police said.
In addition to pleading guilty to the hijacking, Johnson, 21, also pleaded guilty to the vehicular invasion case that was pending and escape from electronic monitoring. Judge Michael Clancy sentenced him to consecutive terms of seven years for the hijacking, five for the invasion, and two for the escape, according to court records. Johnson’s parole date is Christmas Eve 2026.
12 years for CWB veteran
It’s not every day that someone makes their fifth appearance in CWBChicago reporting. But today’s the day for Daniel Vargas. He was on parole for robbing a cab driver in Old Town when he allegedly carjacked a woman’s vehicle in October 2020 and then crashed it while driving drunk in the Loop.
Prosecutors said the crime started when Vargas crashed his own car at a stoplight in the 300 block of South Ashland. He got out, ran to another vehicle stopped in traffic, and pulled a 26-year-old woman from behind the wheel.
About 15 minutes later, Vargas crashed the woman’s Subaru Legacy outside The Wit Hotel, 201 North State, and ran into a nearby Chick-fil-A. Police arrested him moments later.
Cops said Vargas appeared intoxicated, slurred his speech, and had glassy eyes. He was “too combative” for officers to conduct a field sobriety test, according to prosecutors.
Vargas reached a deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to vehicular hijacking and they dropped charges of unlawful vehicular invasion and possession of a stolen motor vehicle in exchange for 12 years. Judge James Obbish handed down the sentence and oversaw the case, according to court records. Vargas is scheduled to be paroled on October 22, 2027.
Vargas made his first appearance on CWB Chicago in September 2016 when he was allegedly caught with a fake permanent resident card and fake Social Security card after police arrested him for pinching a woman’s butt in Lakeview.
The woman called cops and happened to see Vargas still standing across the street when police arrived to talk with her in the 1100 block of West Belmont. Police discovered the allegedly fake identifications when they processed Vargas at the police station. Cops said Vargas admitted to buying the documents “on 26th Street” for $80 in 2014 to seek employment.
4 years for Avondale case
Two men carjacked a 25-year-old driver at a gas station on the 3000 block of West Belmont around 4:30 a.m. on October 25, 2019. They tried to punch him in the face and threatened to shoot him before he surrendered his 2006 Nissan Maxima, prosecutors said. The victim never saw a gun, though.
Prosecutors said surveillance video showed Roger Salgado and another man arrive at the service station in a Honda SUV that another driver reported stolen four days earlier.
Police arrested Salgado after the victim identified him in a photo line-up.
Salgado has now pleaded guilty to vehicular hijacking in exchange for a four-year sentence. He did not serve any time in prison after receiving credit for time spent in custody while the case was pending, court records show. Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil handled the case.
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