CHICAGO — Let’s take another look and see how some of our “new neighbors” are doing since they arrived in Chicago. Today, we’ll spotlight some migrants who have collected multiple arrests in our fair city, sometimes under different names.
Yefri Solarno Betancourt, 24, has been arrested three times since August:
- On August 4, Macy’s on State security accused him of stuffing $354 worth of merchandise into a backpack and walking out. “He stated he was from Colombia and then stated he was from Venezuela,” an officer wrote in his arrest report, noting he had no identification. While he was in custody, he allegedly bit and tore the mattress in a police holding cell, leading to a criminal damage charge.
- He was arrested on felony retail theft charges at Nordstrom Rack, 24 North State, on November 15. The store’s staff accused him of stuffing clothing and shoes worth $1,139 into a suitcase that was offered for sale and walking out the door. The arresting officers said he presented “makeshift identification and a letter from [the] Department of Human Services.”
- Six days later, he was arrested at Home Depot, 4555 South Western. A store security guard said Betancourt took a swing at him when he asked him to leave and proceeded to bite the guard’s hand, according to a CPD report. The report said the bite did not break the guard’s skin because he was wearing gloves.
The Nordstrom Rack case is still pending. Prosecutors dropped the other two cases.
Jholberth Noguera Bermudez, 28, was allegedly carrying a Social Security card and a U.S. permanent resident card in other people’s names when Chicago police arrested him at JC Penney, 7601 South Cicero, on Christmas Eve. Store security claimed he tried to shoplift $857 worth of merchandise. Officers wrote in his arrest report that he told them the Social Security and permanent resident cards were given to him by a stranger, but his City of Chicago ID card was legit.
Despite the significant value of merchandise he’s accused of trying to steal and his alleged possession of fraudulent identifications, prosecutors in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office refused to file felony charges, a CPD officer noted in the arrest report.
Instead, he’s charged with misdemeanor retail theft. The case is pending.
It’s the second time he’s been charged with shoplifting. On November 24, he was arrested at Saks Fifth Avenue on the Magnificent Mile for allegedly trying to steal a $250 pair of gloves. Prosecutors dropped the case on December 19, but he may not be aware of that since, according to court records, he didn’t show up.
Anderson Paraza Colmenares, 28, has been arrested four times since October 17, according to court records. He was accused of:
- shoplifting shoes and a jacket worth $159 from Zara on Michigan Avenue on October 17
- shoplifting $124 worth of liquor from a Jewel-Osco in Evanston on November 11
- shoplifting “chicken and Sprite” from a Jewel-Osco in Rogers Park on November 13
- holding a crack pipe and having a suspect crack rock in his pocket near the Howard CTA station on December 11
Prosecutors dropped all of the cases except for the “chicken and Sprite” case. He pleaded guilty to that in exchange for 12 months of probation from Judge Sharon Kanter on December 15.
Yonder Contreras, a 23-year-old Venezuelan, has been arrested three times, including once under the name Jose Isturiz Lira, according to court records.
On October 23, he was accused of shoplifting $300 worth of clothing from a sporting goods store in Back of the Yards. He didn’t show up for his next two court dates, records show.
In fairness, he couldn’t make the second date on November 27 because he was in police custody for a brand new shoplifting charge. In that case, security at Macy’s in the Loop told police he stole bottles of Gucci and Hugo Boss colognes. Officers noted that he told them he “recently arrived to America 3 weeks ago.”
He got arrested again on December 10 under the name Jose Rafel Isturiz Lira at Saks Off 5th, 1427 North Halsted. Store employees said he stole a pair of pants and a shirt worth $125.
Prosecutors have dropped the first two cases. He’s due in court on the Saks allegations on Wednesday, January 3.