Convicted murderer and serial robber gets 6 years for robbing West Loop store — while on bail and on parole

Oscar Grissette, a convicted murder and three-time convicted robber, managed to pick up three new felony cases within months of being paroled in March 2020. He got out of jail six months later after a community bail fund — which claims to be “truly grounded in the presumption of innocence for all” — posted his bond.

About two months after that, he forced a woman into the back room of a West Loop pet store and robbed the place.

Grissette, 50, has now pleaded guilty to the robbing the pet store and two counts of possessing stolen motor vehicles. Judge Shelley Sutker-Dermer sentenced him to six years for the robbery and three years for each stolen vehicle charge.

Oscar Grissette | CPD

“Despite the defendant stating during the course of [of the pet store robbery], ‘I never do this,’ he in fact has done this on at least three prior occasions,” Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said during Oscar Grissett’s bond court hearing last year.

Grissette isn’t all bad, of course. In 2012, he was ranked as a top chess player — among Cook County jail detainees.

His latest chapter began on March 20, 2020. That’s the day Grissett was released from prison after serving half of a four-year sentence for conspiracy to commit robbery. Less than five months later, prosecutors charged him with two counts of possessing of a stolen motor vehicle and felony burglary. Even though he was on parole, the state did not send him back to prison.

Grissett wasn’t in jail long.

The Bail Project, a charitable non-profit that raises money to “combat the injustices” of cash bail, posted his bond on September 25, 2020, Scaduto said.

While he was on bail, Grissett allegedly came to possess another stolen car and then drove it to Paws Naturals pet store at 932 West Monroe two months later. Grissett walked in, peered into the register, said “I never do this,” and came around the counter with his hand in his pocket while indicating that he had a gun, Scaduto said.

He allegedly told the worker to give him everything from the register, then walked her to the safe, which contained two bags of pennies, and told her not to leave the back room until he was gone, according to Scaduto.

Grissett is no stranger to prison. Among other sentences, he received two 15-year terms for a pair of robberies in 2010, and a 9½ year term for theft from a person in 2005.

While on parole for the theft case, Grissett walked into a business, lifted his shirt, reached into his waistband, and repeatedly yelled “give me the money b*tch” as he robbed the establishment, Scaduto said.

That’s the case he was on parole for when he picked up the pet store robbery and auto theft cases.

Back in 1992, Grissett received a 25-year sentence for murder. In that case, he was driving a stolen car and sped away from cops who tried to pull him over. As he fled, Grissett ran over a 58-year-old tourist who was visiting Chicago for the Memorial Day weekend, Scaduto said. While he was in prison for the killing, he received 100 disciplinary violations.

The tourist was struck about four weeks after Grissett completed parole on a two-year sentence he received for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.

Grissette’s new sentences will be reduced by 50% for good behavior and he received 502 days credit for time served before sentencing. Officials expect him to be released on parole in April 2025.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is