Federal helicopter, AirTags helped snare Lincoln Park carjacker: Chicago police report

CHICAGO — A federal helicopter crew teamed up with Illinois State Police troopers, Chicago police, and two Apple AirTags to lasso a hijacker who took a man’s car at gunpoint in Lincoln Park this week, officials say.

Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered 18-year-old Noah Sidney held in custody as a public safety threat during a detention hearing on Thursday afternoon.

The carjacking occurred shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday as a 31-year-old man unloaded groceries from his Audi Q3 in the 2200 block of North Seminary, according to Sydney’s arrest report.

The report said Sidney walked up to the victim, displayed a pistol, and forced him to turn over his keys, wallet, and phone. The victim complied, and Sidney drove away with his car.

But a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement task force was working in Chicago that night, including a high-tech helicopter operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Noah Sidney (inset) and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter similar to the one used by the Chicago hijacking task force. | Cook County sheriff’s office; U.S. Customs and Border Protection

After the victim told Chicago cops that two AirTags were in his hijacked car, the police started tracking the devices and shared their location with the helicopter, the CPD report said.

The helicopter located the Audi a few minutes later and began radioing “step-by-step location updates” to ground units, according to the report.

When the Audi parked in the 4700 block of South Martin Luther King Drive, an Illinois State Police trooper moved in and chased Sidney down, the report continued.

The police returned the Audi to its owner.

Rumors circulated on social media that the hijacking victim had been abducted and forced to withdraw money from an ATM, but no such allegations were made in court records or CPD’s reports.

Sidney is charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, armed robbery with a firearm, and misdemeanor resisting police.

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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