Man stole car from Chicago hotel valet stand while on bail for driving a different stolen car, prosecutors say

CHICAGO — Prosecutors say a Chicago man was caught driving a car stolen from a Loop hotel valet stand while on bail for allegedly driving another stolen car that he claimed to have purchased from “a crackhead.”

Jhamar Howard, 41, appeared in bond court on Tuesday afternoon on charges of possessing a stolen motor vehicle and burglary.

The situation began Saturday when a driver handed their keys to the valet attendant at the Kimpton Gray Hotel, 122 West Monroe, according to prosecutor Victor Aberdeen. Hotel surveillance video would later show Howard taking the car’s keys from the valet desk, Aberdeen said.

Jhamar Howard (2021) | Chicago Police Department

A police helicopter spotted the stolen car in traffic the next day. Chicago police patrol units found it at a gas station with Howard in the driver’s seat wearing the same clothes he was seen wearing in the hotel video, prosecutors alleged.

Howard was on parole and on bail for another stolen car case at the time.

The previous auto theft case was filed in June after Chicago police allegedly found Howard driving a car stolen a few days earlier in Forest Park. During a bail hearing last June, prosecutors said Howard told police he bought the car “from a crackhead.”

At the time of that incident, he was on bail for a burglary case. He settled that case by pleading guilty to a felony charge of causing injury while resisting police and was released from prison on November 15. Two days after he got out, a Cook County judge reduced his bail in the stolen motor vehicle matter from $30,000 to a recognizance bond, according to Aberdeen.

On Tuesday, his public defender said he has four children, lives with his wife, and has worked in baggage claim at O’Hare for six years. Last June, a different public defender said he had been working for a plastics company for three years.

Judge David Kelly ordered Howard to pay a $2,500 bail deposit to go home on electronic monitoring in the new stolen vehicle case. Separately, he held Howard without bail for violating bond in the June filing.

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