A Chicago man on electronic monitoring while awaiting trial for allegedly robbing a woman at knifepoint on a CTA train was found seven miles away from his home last week, prosecutors say. Officials said he told officers who tracked him down that he had to leave his house because he was trying to catch the family dog.
In addition to the pending armed robbery case, he is now facing a felony criminal damage to property charge for allegedly damaging the police squad car that took him in. But he is not charged with escape from electronic monitoring because Illinois’s new SAFE-T Act legislation decriminalized electronic monitoring absences of less than 48 hours.
Jose Macias, 25, was charged with armed robbery on April 2 after a woman claimed he was the man who pointed a metal hook knife at her and demanded money on a Pink Line train five weeks earlier.
Macias took her money, phone, and AirPods and threatened to come to her home if she did not comply, prosecutors alleged. Based on the victim’s description and CTA surveillance footage, police included a picture of Macias in a photo line-up, and the victim identified him as the robber, prosecutors said.
On April 2, Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered him to pay $25,000 toward his $250,000 bail to be released on electronic surveillance.
But a different judge, Carol Howard, agreed to release Macias on his own recognizance with electronic monitoring in late June. In a court filing asking Howard to reduce Macias’ bail, private attorney Joseph Lopez said Macias could not be the robber because he was picking up his child from Teddy Bear Daycare at the time.
On October 10, the sheriff’s office received an alert that Macias had left his home without permission, prosecutors said Tuesday. They went to his house. He wasn’t there.
Investigators tracked him to a location seven miles from his home and contacted him electronically, officials said. He told them he was down the block. An hour later, he arrived and met with the sheriff’s officers, who took him into custody, prosecutors said.
He is accused of causing $1,432.18 in damage to the officers’ squad car by kicking the bars and breaking the window seals.
“Nothing nefarious was happening,” Assistant Public Defender Patrick Shine assured Judge Mary Marubio during a bail hearing Tuesday. Shine explained that Macias’ younger brother, who has Down syndrome, had let the family dog out, and Macias was trying to catch the dog before the sheriff’s office was notified that he had left the house.
According to Shine, Macias is a churchgoer with a four-year-old child and another on the way. In 2017, he was convicted of armed robbery.
Marubio gave Macias a recognizance bond for the criminal damage charge and ordered that he be held without bail until Judge Howard reviews his bond.