Career thief has been stealing from sleeping O’Hare travelers since March, prosecutors say

Chicago police say a man with a long criminal history repeatedly stole luggage and other property from weary travelers who fell asleep between flights at O’Hare International Airport this year.

Prosecutors on Tuesday said one of Deandre Hines’ previous prison sentences was a six-year term that he received for, you guessed it, stealing from people at O’Hare. But he is only charged with one misdemeanor theft count now, apparently because all of the other recent cases involve victims who live far away from Chicago.

Deandre Hines, seen in a 2016 mugshot, allegedly stole property from weary travelers who fell asleep between flights at O’Hare International Airport. | CPD; Google

Chicago police arrested Hines as he stepped off a Blue Line train at the O’Hare terminal around 4 a.m. Monday. The officers recognized him as the thief who was captured on video stealing from people who fell asleep overnight between flights, prosecutor Jeff Allen said.

Video allegedly showed Hines stealing from a victim on March 22, then stealing from another in Terminal 2 the same day. He stole a Nike bag from an exhausted traveler who fell asleep while passing through the airport on May 22, Allen continued. He took a backpack on June 13 and then stole from another sleeping passenger last Friday, according to Allen.

But Hines is only charged with one case: the theft of a backpack from a sleeping passenger at 3 a.m. on June 21. That victim lives in Indiana. The other victims live in Arkansas, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, Allen said.

Hines initially gave police a fake name when they stopped him on the Blue Line platform, according to Allen. But he later admitted his real name and allegedly told cops, “You guys got me.”

Allen said Hines received a six-year sentence for stealing at O’Hare in 2016 and probation for an O’Hare case in 2015. He also has six misdemeanor convictions, including another O’Hare theft and two airport trespassing cases. Hines is currently on parole for possessing a stolen motor vehicle. 

Assistant Public Defender Michael Grady countered that Hines has problems with “consequential thinking skills” and urged Judge Charles Beach to release Hines with “a stern admonishment that he cannot go to O’Hare.”

Instead, Beach set bail at $3,000 with electronic monitoring on the new theft charge. Hines must post 10% of the bail amount to be released. But he won’t be getting out right away. The Illinois Department of Corrections is holding Hines without bail until officials review his parole status in light of the new allegations.

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