Man charged with Red Line robbery had been arrested (and released) 6 other times since September

Chicago police have announced charges against the man they believe is responsible for pepper-spraying and robbing a CTA passenger on the North Side on January 28.

John Wesley, 24, has been arrested and released six other times since Illinois eliminated cash bail on September 18, according to Chicago police records.

Detectives in CPD’s mass transit unit released a surveillance image of a robbery suspect earlier this month, asking the public to help identify him. They said he sprayed a “chemical irritant” at a 23-year-old man and then robbed the victim at the Granville Red Line station around 5:30 a.m. on January 28.

CPD now says Wesley has been charged with robbery in connection with the crime.

It’s hardly the first time Chicago cops have crossed paths with Wesley. His first arrest during the cashless bail era came on September 28, ten days after the state eliminated monetary bail, after he allegedly threatened employees at the Illinois Medical District Blue Line station.

Wesley ran away from police and tried to jump a fence onto the expressway, then ran through traffic when officers responded, according to a CPD report. The cops left, only to return when the CTA employees called for help when Wesley came back to the station.

Once again, the officers saw Wesley running through traffic, the report said. They arrested him after he allegedly barged into the Fifth Third Bank Arena and hid in a restroom.

“I’m going right back there,” Wesley allegedly told the cops. “I’m going to do the same thing.”
After being charged with aggravated assault of a transit employee and other misdemeanors, he was released from the police station six hours later.

Police arrested him again on October 6 after he allegedly damaged the entrance door of a shelter and threatened to kill or beat a homeless shelter manager who refused to let him into the facility in the 1700 block of North Ashland, another CPD report said.

Judge Susana Ortiz ordered him to go on electronic monitoring. It would be the only time during a string of future arrests that any judge would do that.

But, just four days later, a different judge, Peter Gonzalez, spiked the electronic monitoring requirement, and Wesley went free.

Prosecutors dropped the CTA case on October 20 and then dropped the shelter case three days later because the complainants failed to appear in court, records show.

Just five days after prosecutors wiped the slate clean, Chicago police arrested Wesley again. They said he was part of a large crowd gathered at the Chatham Ridge shopping center. He refused to leave when officers ordered the crowd to disperse.

“Lock me up,” he allegedly told the officers. They obliged. And Judge Ankur Srivastava released him from custody the next morning to await trial on charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing.

Wesley didn’t show up for court on November 11, according to court records, but prosecutors dropped the case anyway.

Cops caught up with him again on November 26. Employees at Dick’s Sporting Goods, 1538 North Clybourn, said they caught him trying to shoplift four coats worth $420.

“I was just trying to make some money,” Wesley told the officers, according to his arrest report.

Charged with misdemeanor retail theft, he was released the next day by Judge Charles Beach.

Wesley was arrested yet again on December 10 after a CTA employee at the State-Lake Red Line station reported that he exposed and pleasured himself in the ticketing area. He remained in custody for four days. That’s when he pleaded guilty to the Dick’s Sporting Goods case in exchange for a sentence of time served from Judge Donald Panarese.

After failing to appear for court in the indecent exposure case, Wesley got arrested at yet another CTA station on January 24. That CPD arrest report said he jumped a turnstile at the Jackson Red Line station and got into a “heated argument” with staffers who tried to get him to pay.

“I will be back. I will be back,” Wesley allegedly warned as police arrested him.

Judge Ankur Srivastava detained him for failing to appear in the other CTA case, but prosecutors dropped the charge the very next day, and he walked out of jail on January 26.

Two days later, according to Chicago police, he pepper-sprayed and robbed the CTA passenger at Granville.

And the day after that, cops arrested him at Macy’s, 111 North State, after the store’s security team allegedly caught him stealing clothing worth $290 and identified him as the person who stole nearly $800 worth of merchandise on two other dates, a CPD arrest report said.

“I don’t care, bro,” Wesley allegedly said as the officers arrested him. “I’m gonna get out and come back.”

This time, prosecutors charged him with felony retail theft and felony aggravated battery of a peace officer. Judge Charles Beach ordered him to go on electronic monitoring. Before Wesley could get out, though, police identified him as the Granville robbery suspect. He is now being detained.

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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