Chicago man charged with stealing ATM during 2020 looting spree, thanks to his bright red tracksuit

Chicago — Prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Chicago man with stealing an entire ATM as a group of looters raided a South Side cellular store during widespread civil unrest in May 2020. A warrant was issued for the man’s arrest in August 2020, but authorities didn’t catch up to him until Saturday.

And, officials said, Jalonnie Roberts was only recognized by police as one of the ATM thieves because his girlfriend got shot moments after the heist and he talked to police while wearing the same distinctive outfit as one of the men who loaded the cash machine into a car.

Jalonnie Roberts | Cook County sheriff’s office

About 20 people broke through the security gate and stole the inventory from ABC Choice cellular, 10315 South Halsted, around 5:16 p.m. on May 31, 2020. Like many businesses, the store didn’t open that day as looting ravaged the city.

The looters scattered as the police arrived. A short time later, another group of looters flooded the store. Prosecutors said Roberts, wearing a distinctive red tracksuit and a white baseball hat, was one of them.

A Chicago police surveillance camera allegedly recorded Roberts and another person hauling the ATM out of the store and loading it into the trunk of a waiting car. The duo then drove away with the cash machine.

About five minutes later, not far from the store, Roberts saw someone shoot his girlfriend, prosecutors said. Roberts allegedly wore the same unique clothing as the ATM thief when he spoke to investigators at the shooting scene.

Only later, after images of looting suspects were circulated in the police department, did officers connect the two incidents.

Roberts’ defense attorney said he has seven children under the age of 12, and he provides for all of them. An active Baptist church member, Roberts has a job offer on the Ford motor plant assembly line, the lawyer said.

She also argued that “anyone could be wearing a red jumpsuit along with a white hat,” not just Roberts.

Judge Barbara Dawkins ordered Roberts to pay $500 to get out of jail on electronic monitoring. But he won’t be able to do that right away. He must also pay 10% of a $200,000 arrest warrant that was out for him on a robbery case in DeKalb County. Dawkins said he also has a pending stolen motor vehicle case in the suburbs.

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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 news@cwbchicago.com