‘Top 10’ CTA crime suspect gets 9 years for robbing Red Line passenger at gunpoint

CHICAGO — A Chicago man who escaped from electronic monitoring just two days after being placed on house arrest and then robbed a CTA passenger at gunpoint has been handed a 10-year sentence.

Miguel Hecavarria, 21, also received a concurrent four-year sentence for possessing a weapon while in Cook County jail, court records show.

Hecavarria went home on electronic monitoring in August 2021 to await trial for a felony gun charge and two separate misdemeanor cases. But he cut off his ankle monitor and walked out the door two days later.

After receiving a tamper alert from Hecavarria’s ankle monitor, sheriff’s officers went to his home and spoke with his cousin. They said that Hechavarria removed his ankle monitor and walked out the door. The investigators found Hechavarria’s broken ankle bracelet in the house.

“It was the [electronic monitoring] that never really existed,” Judge Susana Ortiz said after police caught up with Hecavarria seven months later. “The band was cut off. He simply walked away and abandoned it, and while on his frolic … he allegedly committed a crime of violence.”

In fact, Chicago police believed Hecavarria committed several violent crimes while he was on the lam. Cops linked him to so many crimes, he earned a spot on CPD’s “Top 10” transit crime suspects early last year.

But prosecutors only charged him with one robbery, an early morning holdup on a Red Line train near the State-Chicago stop on October 20, 2021.

Hechavarria ordered another passenger to surrender his phone. When the victim refused, Hechavarria allegedly pulled out a silver revolver, pointed it at the man, and demanded the phone again. He got it that time. Prosecutors said CTA surveillance cameras recorded the robbery, and an investigator recognized Hechavarria from the footage.

During Hechavarria’s initial bail hearing for the Red Line robbery, a prosecutor said CTA cameras also recorded Hechavarria robbing a Green Line passenger one day later. But he was never charged with the crime.

Miguel Hecavarria | CPD; File

Chicago cops recognized Hechavarria while patrolling Loop CTA stations in March 2022 and took him into custody. He told the officers that he cut off his electronic monitoring band because “he cannot be with his parents. Because he feels he is failing them,” a prosecutor said during the bail hearing.

He allegedly claimed he was forced to steal the Red Line passenger’s phone because two men told them they would hurt him and take his gun if he didn’t do it. But he conceded that 12 jurors wouldn’t believe that story, the prosecutor continued.

On Wednesday, Hecavarria pleaded guilty to armed robbery, which was reduced from armed robbery with a firearm, as well as aggravated unlawful use of a weapon for the gun case he had pending, and possession of a weapon in a prison, according to court records.

Judge Timothy Joyce sentenced him to nine years for the robbery, a consecutive year for the gun, and a concurrent four-year term for the jailhouse weapon violation. Prosecutors dropped an escape from electronic monitoring charge as part of their plea deal.

Hecavarria’s anticipated parole date has not been announced.

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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