Shoplifter who escaped by pulling a gun on Macy’s security gets 4-year sentence

CHICAGO — A shoplifter who pulled a gun on security guards at Macy’s in downtown Chicago last year has received a four-year prison sentence.

Loss prevention officers decided to keep an eye on Tyrone Harrell after he entered the store at 111 North State wearing a ski mask around 7 p.m. on January 31, 2023. They watched as he allegedly stuffed three hats, a pullover, and a Chicago Blackhawks hoodie under his shirt and headed out the door.

They stopped Harrell, took him to a holding room, and called for police. While they waited, Harrell moved his ski mask, exposing his face from his mouth to his eyebrows. That move would eventually help authorities identify him.

As the guards asked Harrell to move to a smaller room so they could pat him down, he pulled a gun out of his jacket, racked the slide, pointed it at four security officers, and ran into the pedway system, prosecutors said.

Detectives shared Macy’s surveillance images—including one showing Harrell with an exposed face running across the sales floor with a pistol in his hand—with cops across the city. They asked officers to help identify the shoplifter.

A few days later, officers patrolling the Loop saw Harrell blocking the Harold Washington Library entrance and refusing to let patrons pass by. They immediately recognized him as the Macy’s suspect because he was wearing the same clothes as the gunman. They also saw a bulge in his waistband, which allegedly turned out to be a handgun with a loaded ammunition magazine attached. 

Two Macy’s security officers subsequently identified Harrell in photo line-ups.

Tyrone Harrell (Left) and a surveillance image of the Macy’s robber. | Chicago Police Department; @area_ranger

Harrell struck a plea deal with prosecutors: He pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of misdemeanor retail theft. In exchange, Judge Laura Ayala-Gonzalez sentenced him to four years for the gun count and time served for the shoplifting, according to court records.

That’s a pretty good deal for Harrell, who initially faced 21 felony counts, including a dozen attempted armed robbery and aggravated robbery charges and several counts of aggravated unlawful restraint.

Clerk of court records show Judge Ayala-Gonzalez ordered Harrell to serve 80% of the four-year sentence, but the Illinois Department of Corrections website shows he is scheduled to be paroled in February 2025 after serving 50% of the term.

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About Tim Hecke 370 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is