Face tattoos, Tesla cameras lead cops to serial auto burglar

CHICAGO — A five-time felon is charged with burglarizing nearly a dozen cars, getting away with firearms twice, mostly in the West Loop. But his decision to occasionally target Teslas, which take pictures of everyone who enters the car, contributed to his demise.

Jeffery Morgan, 37, was arrested in the West Loop last Thursday after Chicago police officers attached a GPS tracker to his getaway car, prosecutors said.

He is charged with eleven burglaries that investigators linked to him through CPD surveillance video, a car spotted at many of the crime scenes, and those pesky Tesla cabin cameras, which took crisp pictures of this uniquely tattooed face.

He is accused of:

  • Breaking into a Tesla in the 700 block of West Lake to take credit cards, $300 cash, and a Coach purse on November 14.
  • Burglarizing another Tesla in the 700 block of West Lake on January 14, taking a wallet and AirPods.
  • Entering an unlocked Jeep in the 1300 block of West Randolph and taking Air Jordans and three handbags on February 2.
  • Breaking into a Mercedes in the 700 block of West Fulton to take computers and clothing on February 5.
  • Targeting yet another Tesla on April 15 in the 600 block of West Montrose, taking a purse, iPhone, and cash.
  • Burglarizing an off-duty Joliet police officer’s vehicle in the 800 block of West Kinzie on May 20. He allegedly took the cop’s firearm from the glove compartment.
  • Breaking into another Tesla in the 800 block of West Kinzie on May 24 to take $4,000 worth of audio-visual equipment.

On May 27, Chicago police saw a Mercedes linked to the burglaries enter a parking lot in the 800 block of West Kinzie, prosecutors said.

They allegedly watched as Morgan stole a bag containing credit cards and baby formula from a Cadillac and then broke into a Kia, taking another handgun. He ran away when the officers tried to arrest him, according to prosecutors.

Jeffery Morgan and the area where one of the Tesla cameras is perched. | CCOS; Uber

On June 2, he allegedly burglarized a Cadillac in the 700 block of West Grand.

And on June 14, he stole a briefcase, harmonica set, scarf, and jacket from a Tesla in the 200 block of North Desplaines, a criminal complaint said.

Chicago police attached a GPS device to a car linked to the burglar, and they tracked it to the 700 block of West Fulton last Thursday. Prosecutors said Morgan ran when they walked up to his car, but the cops caught up with him.

After taking him into custody, they found a handgun sticking out from under his car’s driver’s seat, prosecutors said. It was not either of the guns that had been taken in the burglaries, according to court records. And prosecutors said it had a full-auto switch attached, making it capable of firing automatic gunfire like a machine gun.

The police said he had $3,400 in $100 and $20 bills when they arrested him.

He has five felony convictions, including burglary cases in 2018, 2013, 2012, and 2009. In 2017, he was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

Morgan is now charged with 11 counts of burglary and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

During his bail hearing, a defense attorney said he works full-time as a barber and could only afford to pay a $1,000 bail deposit.

With that in mind, Judge David Kelly ordered him to pay a $15,000 bail deposit to be released on electronic monitoring.

According to court records, a woman identified as Morgan’s girlfriend posted the $15,000 two days later.

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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