8 year sentence for man who helped carjack a driver in the Loop

CHICAGO — Jaylin Thomas claimed he didn’t know that the two juveniles he was hanging out with were going to carjack a driver in downtown Chicago last November. But that didn’t stop a judge from sentencing him to eight years in prison.

Thomas received the sentence from Judge Tyria Walton after he pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular hijacking with a weapon.

Officials say that a 39-year-old man got into his Buick Encore in the 500 block of South Federal in the Loop on the evening of November 8 and was met by three hijackers, one of whom pulled out a gun.

The gunman ordered him out of the vehicle, and the trio told him to hand over his valuables, but the contents of his wallet spilled onto the ground, and he ran from the scene as the robbers bent over to pick up his credit cards, prosecutors said.

Much of the incident was captured on a nearby surveillance camera.

Police used On-Star to track the vehicle to a gas station in the 7000 block of South Damen. There, they allegedly saw Thomas exit the front passenger seat before taking all three of the vehicle’s occupants into custody about 45 minutes after the hijacking.

Thomas allegedly admitted that his phone was in the stolen car. He acknowledged that he was present for the hijacking and that his fingerprints might be on the firearm investigators recovered. But video of the hijacking showed that he was not the one who displayed a weapon during the crime, prosecutors said.

Jaylin Thomas and the 500 block of South Federal. | CPD; Google

Both of the juveniles charged with Thomas were 17-year-old boys. The outcomes of their cases are not available because juvenile court records are shielded from public review.

During Thomas’ bail hearing in November, an assistant public defender said he had never been arrested before.

His prison sentence will be halved in exchange for good behavior, giving him an anticipated parole date of July 17, 2026.

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