State will review parole status of 30-time convicted felon after he’s charged with stealing scooters in Lincoln Park, Streeterville

CHICAGO — Randall Brown, the 30-time convicted felon who’s accused of stealing scooters from streets downtown and in Lincoln Park less than a month after being paroled on ten similar cases, was ordered held without bail on Monday afternoon by a Cook County judge.

The no-bail hold is temporary while state officials decide if they will revoke his parole in light of the new allegations.

While police suspect Brown, 54, is responsible for many scooter thefts over the past month, he is only charged with two crimes with photo and video evidence.

In one case, officials said a Lincoln Park woman saw Brown walking away with her husband’s scooter on the morning of April 19. When she ordered Brown to stop, he claimed the $1,400 scooter was his, prosecutor Victor Aberdeen said during Brown’s bail hearing on Monday.

The woman took pictures of the thief with her phone and shared them on social media.

Randall Brown (center) and images of the scooter thief in action in Lincoln Park (left) and Streeterville (right) | Illinois Department of Corrections; Twitter; Nate Vaysenberg

Thursday morning, a surveillance camera recorded Brown stealing another scooter from the 100 block of East Grand in Streeterville, Aberdeen said.

That scooter’s owner, Nate Vaysenberg, shared the video with CWBChicago over the weekend, and it didn’t take long for police and the public to identify the thief.

Aberdeen said Brown admitted to taking the scooter in Lincoln Park and selling it to someone on Central Park Avenue.

That’s the same operation Brown ran for several weeks in 2020—stealing scooters from parking spots and reselling them for a fraction of their value, authorities said.

Brown received ten concurrent 8-year sentences for the 2020 crimes, but he earned special credits in prison and was released in less than three years because he demonstrated excellent skills as a mechanic, a source said.

Prosecutors charged him with two counts of possessing a stolen motor vehicle on Monday. Detectives hope to find video or other evidence to link him to additional cases.

If Brown becomes eligible for release, he will need to post a $5,000 bail deposit to get out of jail, Judge Ankur Srivastava said at the conclusion of Monday’s hearing.

Brown’s long criminal career as a thief and forger stretches back to 1993.

In an entertaining moment in 2016, a Wrigleyville resident called 911 to report two people making an adult movie in a car behind their home. As it turned out, the people in the vehicle were undercover cops using video equipment to record Brown as he broke into a nearby coach house. They arrested him when he stepped out of the home.

He received eight years for that break-in, a second burglary, and identity theft, but he was released in 2020 after serving four. Scooters started disappearing from city streets soon after that. Before those cases, Brown went to prison for:

  • One year for theft in 2011
  • Another year for theft in 2011
  • Ten years for burglary in 2010
  • Another ten years for receiving/possessing a stolen vehicle in 2010
  • 30 months for aggravated impersonation of police in 2005
  • Another 30 months for theft in 2005
  • Another seven years for aiding-abetting possession of a stolen vehicle in 2005
  • Another five years for forgery in 2005
  • Another two years for knowingly possessing a fake license in 2005
  • Four years for being a felon who failed to return from furlough in 2001
  • Six years for burglary in 2000.
  • Another 42 months for burglary in 2000
  • Five years for theft in 1998
  • Six years for receiving/possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 1997
  • Six years for unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle in 1993
  • Another three years for receiving/possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 1993
  • And yet another three years for theft in 1993.
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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