Man is caught riding a stolen scooter during ‘large group’ incident, prosecutors say — about an hour after cops warned about a scooter theft pattern

Chicago police issued a community alert on Saturday evening to warn downtown and Lincoln Park residents about a series of motor scooter thefts in their neighborhoods. Coincidentally, just over an hour later, cops assigned to a “large group” incident in the Loop arrested a man for allegedly driving a stolen motor scooter the wrong way on Michigan Avenue. 

According to the alert, someone stole six motor scooters between April 10 and April 14 that had been parked on the street. The thefts were reported in the:

  • 2200 block of North Lincoln Park West, Monday, April 10, in the morning
  • first block of West Chestnut, Monday, April 10, in the morning
  • 1100 block of West Dickens, Wednesday, April 12, in the evening
  • 600 block of North Franklin, Wednesday, April 12, in the evening
  • 100 block of West Eugenie, Thursday, April 13, in the evening
  • 1900 block of North Lincoln, Friday, April 14, in the evening

Police did not release suspect information or explain how the scooters were stolen.

Vincent Griffin and the locations of recent scooter thefts that Chicago police have linked to a crime pattern. | Chicago Police Department; Multiplottr

Then, at 8:19 p.m. Saturday, a Chicago police officer who was deployed to the Loop due to a “large crowd incident” saw a man driving a black scooter the wrong way near 98 North Michigan Avenue, prosecutors said. That’s pretty much across the street from The Bean sculpture.

The cop, working on foot patrol, managed to stop the scooter and asked the driver, 19-year-old Vincent Griffin, to step off. Prosecutors said the scooter’s steering column had been stripped, and Griffin operated it without a key. The scooter was reported stolen on April 12, but it’s unclear if its theft is included in the crime pattern CPD warned about.

During Griffin’s bail hearing Sunday afternoon, prosecutors said he has a pending stolen motor vehicle case in which he was released on a recognizance bond in February. He is now charged with possessing a stolen motor vehicle again.

His assistant public defender said he expects to graduate high school in June and works part-time at a fast-food restaurant.

Judge Barbara Dawkins held Griffin without bail until he sees the judge handling the February case on Tuesday. She said he’d need to post a $500 bail deposit to be released on the new charges. If he does go home, he’ll be on a curfew from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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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