Chicago police were able to track down a would-be carjacker because he asked her to call and text his mother before he tried to hijack the victim’s car.
Prosecutors revealed that unusual detail on Thursday as they charged Juan Landeros, 21, of Lakeview, with attempted vehicular hijacking with a weapon and aggravated unlawful restraint.
The victim, a 27-year-old woman, had just parked outside a fitness center in the 4600 block of West Foster when Landeros tapped on her driver’s side window around 5 p.m. on May 17, Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Dale-Schmidt said.
Explaining that his friend had abandoned him, Landeros asked the woman to call his mother for help, according to Dale-Schmidt. She said the victim obliged, calling the number Landeros gave her twice and even texting Landeros’ mother. But his mom didn’t answer her calls or reply to the text.
The woman invited Landeros to wait inside the gym, saying she’d let him know if his mom got back to her.
That’s when the whole situation went sideways.
As the woman started to step out of her car, Landeros pushed her back into the vehicle, pressed his forearm against her chest, and pinned her to the seat, Dale-Schmidt said. He used his free hand to search the cup holder and other areas for the vehicle’s keys and ordered the woman to hand them over.
Within a few moments, a roving security patrol officer approached, and Landeros jumped entirely into the woman’s car, sat on her lap, and closed the door, Dale-Schmidt continued. All the while, Landeros continued to demand her keys and threatened to kill her if she continued yelling.
Landeros bolted from the car as the security guard got out of their patrol vehicle to investigate the victim’s screams, said Dale-Schmidt.
Chicago police officers took pictures of the victim’s call log and the text message she allegedly sent on Landeros’ behalf. Detectives determined that the phone number involved is registered to one of Landeros’ relatives, Dale-Schmidt said.
After learning that, detectives included Landeros’ picture in a photo line-up, and the victim picked him out.
Dale-Schmidt said he has been on intensive drug probation since last June and was adjudicated for unlawful use of a weapon in 2019 as a juvenile.
Judge David Kelly, who presided over the bail hearing, set bail at $300,000. Landeros must post 10% of the bail amount to go home.