Man carjacked an Uber driver at gunpoint while on bail for 2 stolen car cases: prosecutors

CHICAGO — A Chicago man carjacked an Uber driver at gunpoint this week while on bail for two separate stolen motor vehicle cases, according to prosecutors.

You may remember Vincent Griffin, 19. We introduced you to him after he was arrested for the second stolen vehicle case in April. Maybe we should start from the beginning, though.

Griffin, who officials said is also on juvenile parole for carjacking, was arrested at his high school on February 6. The dean at West Town Academy, 534 North Sacramento, called police after spotting a Kia Sportage with a broken rear side window and a stripped steering column in the school’s parking lot, a CPD arrest report said.

The dean told police that surveillance video showed Griffin exiting the car upon arriving on campus, the report continued.

Left to right: Vincent Griffin’s mugshots from February 2023, April 2023, and November 2023. | Chicago Police Department

Peeled steering columns and broken side windows are telltale signs that a Kia or Hyundai vehicle has been stolen by “Kia boys,” car thieves who exploit a design flaw that allows them to start the ignition by using a USB plug as an ignition key.

Judge William Fahy released Griffin on his own recognizance the next day.

Chicago police arrested him again during a “large group” incident in the Loop on April 15. An officer working on foot patrol saw Griffin riding a stolen motor scooter down the sidewalk near “The Bean” sculpture, CPD’s arrest report said.

The next day, prosecutors told Judge Barbara Dawkins the scooter’s steering column had been stripped, and Griffin operated it without a key. He posted a $500 bail deposit to go home four days later.

Now, prosecutors are accusing Griffin of kicking things up a notch by carjacking a 47-year-old Uber driver in the 400 block of South Pulaski last Sunday morning.

Judge Susana Ortiz granted the state’s petition to detain Griffin as a public safety request, saying he ordered an Uber and threatened to shoot the driver if he didn’t surrender the vehicle.

Prosecutors said surveillance video showed Grifin climb behind the wheel and drive away.

Chicago cops followed the car’s GPS signal to the 500 block of North Central Park, where it sat unoccupied, Griffin’s latest arrest report said. Investigators put the car under surveillance and allegedly watched Griffin drive it to a new location about a half-mile away.

When they arrested him, he had the car’s key fob and the Uber driver’s phone, according to the arrest report.

He is now charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, unlawful vehicular invasion, and possessing a stolen motor vehicle.

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