Another man charged with possessing vehicle key fobs, key programming device in downtown Chicago

CHICAGO — For the second time this month, prosecutors have filed charges after Chicago cops allegedly found someone in possession of vehicle key fobs and a key reprogramming machine downtown. The latest man to be arrested also had a gun, officials say.

The discoveries may provide answers for Chicagoans who’ve had vehicles stolen or items taken from their cars even though the doors were locked.

Earlier this month, prosecutors said Larenz Wair, 28, rammed his vehicle into a Chicago police car near Trump Tower. The cops allegedly found a backpack in Wair’s car “filled with burglary tools,” including ten key fobs, a universal key programming device, and “suspected stolen items.”

Jabari Smith (Chicago Police Department)

Now, there’s this: Early last Sunday, February 11, a security guard called 911 and reported seeing occupants of a black Jeep breaking into a Dodge Durango near Polk and Clark in the Loop. Officers responded in time to see a Jeep double-parked next to a Durango.

They put tire deflation devices in front of the Jeep as they began their investigation, a CPD report said. At the same time, several people bolted out of the Dodge Durango. The report said some jumped into the Jeep, and another ran down Clark Street.

The Jeep’s driver ran over the spike strip and sped away, even though one of the SUV’s tires was deflating.

Officers decided to chase the guy who ran away, identified by prosecutors as Jabari Smith, 20.

They caught him in the 600 block of South Clark moments after he ditched a loaded handgun equipped with an extended ammunition magazine, the police report said. The gun was allegedly stolen.

As they patted Smith down, the officers discovered that he had two vehicle key fobs and a “professional key fob programmer tool… suitable for use in breaking into motor vehicles,” said the state’s criminal complaint. Officials said he also had two counterfeit $100 bills.

Judge Charles Beach released him from custody with an order to stay in the house at night, according to court records.

Smith is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, forgery, and possessing burglary tools.

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About Tim Hecke 369 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