Shoplifter pinned by livestreaming black belt pleads guilty

CHICAGO — Christopher Cruz, the North Side man who went viral when a black belt jiu-jitsu instructor put him in a pretzel hold on the floor of a Chicago convenience store last summer, has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and shoplifting charges in the case, court records show.

Cruz also pleaded guilty to two more serious charges from separate incidents, resulting in a probation sentence.

Christopher Cruz | CPD; Idriz Redzovic

Going viral

“Hey, hey, homie. Let me go, man, homie,” Cruz begged 3rd-degree black belt jiu-jitsu instructor Idriz Redzovic, who had him twisted into an unnatural shape on the floor of 7-Eleven, 1532 West Lawrence, last June.

“He assaulted a 7-Eleven employee, so I jumped in and took him to the ground and did a gift wrap hold, which is taught in the art of Jiu-Jitsu,” Redzovic explained. He teaches art at Supreme Jiu-Jitsu Chicago.

“What are you, Russian? Syrian?” Cruz asked as Redzovic streamed the incident on Facebook.

“I’m Bosnian,” Redzovic replied.

“We’re Bosnian homies!” Cruz suggested.

“You’re a Bosnian nothing,” countered Redzovic. Watch:

Chicago police said Cruz “took a fighting stance” with a store employee, and prosecutors charged him with retail theft and misdemeanor battery. He had a stolen motor vehicle case pending at the time.

About three weeks later, police arrested Cruz again after he went to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center for treatment of a medical condition, and hospital staff allegedly found an unloaded firearm in his backpack while inventorying his property.

Plea deals

Now, Cruz has put all of that behind him.

He pleaded guilty to the retail theft and battery charges in exchange for a 60-day sentence, which was satisfied by time served, according to court records.

Separately, he pleaded guilty to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a stolen motor vehicle in exchange for a sentence of two years probation from Judge Shelley Sutker-Dermer, records show. The gun case is eligible for dismissal if he completes the probation program successfully, a filing by Cruz’s defense attorney said.

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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