‘Call the police. They aren’t going to catch me,’ serial shoplifter told store clerk minutes before cops caught him: prosecutors

CHICAGO — A serial shoplifter taunted a Walgreens employee as he walked out of the Boystown store with hair and skin products he didn’t purchase on Monday: “Call the police. They aren’t going to catch me.”

In fact, Chicago police did arrest Donte Elbert a few minutes later, and he’s now charged with stealing those products and shoplifting from a nearby Target store eleven times since December.

Starting on December 8 and as recently as Monday, Elbert stole merchandise worth $2,293.82 during a string of thefts from Target, 3204 North Clark, Assistant State’s Attorney Victor Aberdeen said during a bail hearing Tuesday.

Among the products he shoplifted were 15 bath towels, three blankets, laundry detergent, dish soap, and at least 75 bottles of liquor, Aberdeen said.

Donte Elbert and the Target store at 3204 North Clark. | Chicago Police Department; Google

Around 9 a.m. Monday, a Target employee warned Elbert that he was not allowed in the store, but the 36-year-old allegedly ignored them and stole two bedsheets from the home goods department.
Also Monday, Chicago police responded to a theft in progress call at Walgreens, 3201 North Broadway, and met with a store employee who showed them a picture she took of Elbert as he stole $179.80 worth of hair and skin products, according to Aberdeen.

“Call the police. They aren’t going to catch me,” Elbert told her as he marched out the door, Aberdeen said.

He was proven wrong a few minutes later when Chicago cops found him inside Taco Bell, 920 West Belmont, about a block from the Target store.

Aberdeen said Elbert was convicted of two burglaries in 2018 and was found guilty of aggravated kidnapping with bodily harm in 2005. He’s now charged with 12 counts of felony retail theft and misdemeanor trespassing.

An assistant public defender who represented Elbert on Tuesday said he is homeless and has been trying to get into shelters, but he couldn’t find one with room.

Judge Ankur Srivastava ordered him to pay a $100 bail deposit to be released on electronic monitoring. The judge also signed an order for Elbert to receive alternate housing services while on bail.

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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