Chicago — In February 2021, Salvador Reitinger was sentenced to 12 years for tying up a woman inside her Irving Park garage and carjacking her vehicle. The crime occurred just two weeks after Reitinger completed an eight-year sentence for a 2010 carjacking.
Yet, somehow, some way, authorities released him from prison in July after he had served less than half of his 12 years.
Yesterday, prosecutors said Reitinger tried to kill a security guard by shooting at him earlier this month.
How did Reitinger get out of prison after serving about 4½ of a 12-year sentence? We asked around and found out. But let’s start at the beginning.
On January 11, 2010, Reitinger carjacked a driver at gunpoint in the West Loop, less than a year after he was convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, according to prosecutors.
Eight years and 16 days after the West Loop hijacking, Reitinger put a handgun to the face of a 49-year-old woman in her garage in the 4100 block of North Central Park, prosecutors said. He took her money, debit card, and keys, then tied the woman up with electrical cords and a phone charger. And he drove away with her 2013 Ford Focus, which bore an aging Bernie Sanders 2016 bumper sticker.
Cops tracked the woman’s phone, which was inside the car, to a nearby McDonald’s and then to Logan Square. Officers spotted the “Bernie” sticker and found Reitinger sitting in the car’s driver’s seat, eating McDonald’s.
He ran and ditched a loaded handgun along the way, prosecutors alleged. But the cops caught up with him.
Prosecutors eventually cut a deal with Reitinger. He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular hijacking with a weapon in exchange for a 12-year sentence from Judge Michael Hood on December 16, 2020.
How did he wind up serving less than five years on a 12-year sentence for a Class X felony violent crime? We asked the Illinois Department of Corrections. Here’s what they told us:
First, the 12-year sentence was automatically reduced by 50% for good behavior. Then, he received credit for the two years, 11 months, and six days he spent in county jail while awaiting sentencing. His initial parole date was set for January 10, 2024 — just shy of six years after he was arrested.
Then the bonus points arrived.
“Mr. Reitinger received 342 days of Earned Program Sentence Credit (11 months, 12 days) for completion of various programs and work assignments,” an IDOC spokesperson explained. New parole date: January 28, 2023. That’s five years after he was arrested.
Then, “on April 29, 2022, an amended sentencing order was received from the court, ordering his jail credits increased from 1056 days to 1239 days (3 years, 5 months, 9 days) for time served in county while awaiting sentencing.”
His re-adjusted parole date: July 25, 2022. That’s four years, six months after the hijacking.
Prosecutors charged Reitinger on Monday with attempted murder and other felonies for allegedly shooting a currency exchange security guard in North Lawndale on November 12.
The guard went to the currency exchange at closing time to escort the cashier to her car, prosecutor Rhianna Biernat said. While the clerk was getting into her vehicle, Reitinger walked up to the security guard, pulled out a gun, and shot him in the abdomen, Biernat alleged.
She said the guard returned fire, striking Reitinger in the bicep. He ran from the scene.
While police were investigating the shooting of the guard, 911 callers reported another person shot about two blocks away. It was Reitinger. Police found a 9-millimeter handgun in his pocket, a loaded ammunition magazine nearby, and a blood trail leading to the security guard shooting scene, where a single 9-millimeter shell casing sat on the ground, Biernat said.
DNA testing on various pieces of evidence is pending, but the shooting was captured on surveillance video, according to Biernat.
Neither the guard nor the currency exchange clerk has identified Reitinger as the shooter, she said, but video shows a person dressed like Reitinger shooting the guard after walking out of an alley. The video also shows the guard firing back, causing the gunman to fall before getting up and running away.
Reitinger’s public defender, Suzin Farber, argued strenuously against the state’s request to hold Reitinger without bail. She pointed out that there is no DNA evidence, no ballistics evidence, no witness identifications of Reitinger, and no clear understanding of what the surveillance video shows.
She said Reitinger is the father of two and works full-time as a scaffolding engineer.
Judge Barbara Dawkins granted the state’s no-bail request despite Farber’s detailed arguments. The state parole board will review his parole status in light of the new allegations.
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