A West Town woman noticed something as two men carjacked her shortly before 4 p.m. on March 29. She could see that one of the hijackers had facial tattoos because he was wearing a black balaclava-style face mask, one that had a wide opening around the eyes and nose.
About six hours later, cops spotted the hijacked car and pulled it over. Prosecutors said that the driver was wearing a black balaclava that exposed his face tats. But the victim did not identify him as one of the hijackers, so prosecutors only charged him with possessing a stolen motor vehicle, not carjacking.
But the accused man, Tyreon Billops received an even bigger gift from prosecutors during his bond court appearance the next day. That’s because Billops was on bond for a Class X armed habitual criminal case when cops allegedly caught him in the stolen car — but prosecutors did not tell the bond court judge about that. And they didn’t file a violation of bail bond motion in the Class X case, either.
The woman had just parked her blue Audi in a garage adjacent to her home on the 1000 block of North Paulina when a tan Chevy Trailblazer pulled up, Assistant State’s Attorney Sean Kelly said. Two hijackers, both wearing balaclavas and each displaying a handgun, confronted her.
“Gimme your keys,” said one. They pulled her out of her car and drove away.
She told police about the facial tattoos one of the offenders had.
Around 9:45 that evening, a CPD license plate reader alerted patrol officers that the blue Audi they encountered in traffic had been reported stolen, Kelly said. They pulled it over and saw the driver’s face tattoos through the opening of his balaclava, according to Kelly. Another man sat in the car’s passenger seat.
The driver sped away. Other units found it again on the 1500 block of North Leamington. Kelly said it was parked near an alley, and Billops, 22, was standing near the trunk.
Billops took off running but eventually put his hands up and surrendered, Kelly continued. One of the cops who pulled the Audi over a few minutes earlier identified Billops as the man driving the car.
But when the victim came to the police station, she “provided a negative ID” when cops asked if Billops was one of the hijackers, Kelly said. Prosecutors declined hijacking charges.
Billops’ public defender said he is the father of one and is expecting a second child.
He was convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and manufacture-delivery in 2018. His parole in those cases ended on December 10, Kelly said.
Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered him to go onto electronic monitoring when he posts 10% of his $10,000 bail to get out of jail.
But prosecutors didn’t even mention that Billops was on bail for a Class X gun case — the most serious felony classification in the state, short of murder. Getting arrested for a felony while on bail for a felony typically results in a no-bail hold — but only if prosecutors ask for it.
CWB Chicago’s team learned about the pending case while reviewing Billops’ criminal background for this story.
Last May, CPD officers watching a surveillance camera feed allegedly saw Billops holding a gun in his waistband and pulling it out repeatedly on a West Side street. Patrol units went to the scene and approached Billops, who tossed the gun as he ran away, prosecutors said during a bail hearing on May 26.
Cops caught Billops and picked up the loaded gun, which did not have a serial number, according to the allegations.
Prosecutors charged him with Class X armed habitual criminal and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Judge David Navarro set bail at $25,000, meaning Billops had to pay a deposit of $2,500 to get out of jail. State officials also moved to revoke the parole he was serving at the time.
Billops posted bail on December 16, according to court records.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office did not respond to an email inquiry about why prosecutors didn’t inform the judge about Billops’ pending case or file a violation of bail bond petition.