Chicago — Prosecutors have charged a five-time felon with armed carjacking after he allegedly showed up in court to support one of his accomplices and authorities recognized him by his facial tattoos.
Fabian Alonzo, who has said he prefers to target Hispanic people because they are less likely to cooperate with authorities if they’re in the country illegally, also committed an armed robbery outside a Wicker Park Mexican restaurant shortly before the hijacking, prosecutors said.
Around 3:40 a.m. on September 18, Alonzo and three accomplices committed an armed robbery outside El Mexico Moderno, 1247 North Ashland, prosecutors said during a bail hearing Sunday. Alonzo’s facial tattoos are allegedly visible in video of the robbery because a t-shirt that he wore over his face fell during the hold-up.
In October, police issued a community alert about a series of armed robberies that were happening on that same Wicker Park block early on Saturday mornings. The robbery outside El Mexico Moderno was one of the crimes Chicago investigators linked to the pattern, which CPD said was being committed by a group of Hispanic men who traveled in a black Chrysler 300.
But, while prosecutors said on Sunday that video showed Alonzo committing the robbery, they did not charge him with that crime and offered no explanation for their decision.
They did, however, charge him with carjacking a Hispanic couple at a Skokie gas station just 90 minutes later.
The man and woman were in a pickup truck with a Mexican flag on the hood at the Mobil station, 4002 Dempster, when a black Chrysler 300 pulled up, and four men stepped out, prosecutors said.
Alonzo, 28, allegedly got out of the car’s driver’s seat and demanded the keys to the truck while other offenders displayed a handgun and pulled the woman from its passenger seat. One of the hijackers pistol-whipped the male victim, and the group drove away in his truck and the Chrysler 300, prosecutors allege.
Shortly after, the stolen pickup crashed into a concrete pillar as police pursued it. Prosecutors said officers arrested the two occupants, recovered two guns from the truck, and discovered a necklace and bracelet taken during the robbery outside El Mexico Moderno.
Alonzo attended a court hearing for one of the men who was arrested at the crash scene, prosecutors said, and he was recognized as he sat in the gallery by his face tattoos, officials said.
Courthouse video showed him leaving the building, and records showed that the Chrysler 300 involved in the robberies was parked at the courthouse on the day he appeared, according to prosecutors.
During Sunday’s bail hearing, an assistant state’s attorney said Alonzo had been convicted of robbery in 2012, twice in 2014, burglary in 2012, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in 2016. He has claimed to target Hispanic people because witnesses and victims in the country illegally tend not to report crimes or follow through with prosecution, the attorney said.
Alonzo’s public defender slammed the prosecution’s case, beginning with their decision to discuss the Wicker Park robbery without filing charges. Furthermore, prosecutors did not state whether the video showed Alonzo getting into or out of the Chrysler 300 at the courthouse, suggesting that it was driven there by someone else. Furthermore, she contended that while prosecutors claim Alonzo targets people based on their ethnic background, he has not been charged with a hate crime.
Judge Charles Beach, citing the “brazenness” of Alonzo’s alleged actions, granted the state’s request to hold Alonzo without bail.
“The fact that you were willing to appear or did appear in courtrooms throughout the county when co-offenders were appearing tells me that you have no fear in your way about your actions or in the way you treat orders from the court or your expectations in society,” Beach told Alonzo.
Alonzo is due back in court on Tuesday.