Weeks after arriving in USA, migrants choked robbery victim into unconsciousness on CTA train: prosecutors

CHICAGO — Four Venezuelan migrants who have been in Chicago for as little as one month, and three of whom were on pretrial release for retail theft, lured a man to the back of a CTA train car and choked him into unconsciousness during a vicious robbery, officials say.

But other passengers realized what happened, and they notified CTA workers, who held the migrants inside the train until Chicago cops arrived.

Prosecutors provided gut-wrenching details of the robbery, which unfolded on a Pink Line train near Kostner around 4:45 p.m. Saturday, during a detention hearing for the men at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

A 49-year-old Cicero man was riding an inbound train when Carlos Carreno-Carreno, 20, motioned for him to come to the back of the train, officials said. While the man didn’t know Carreno-Carreno or the other three migrants, he walked over to see what they wanted.

After he entered the back of the train car, 21-year-old Wilker Gutierrez Sierra allegedly stood in the doorway to prevent him from escaping and blocking other passengers’ view.

Following a short conversation, Yonnier Guasamucare-Garcia, 18, jumped on the victim and wrapped his arm around the man’s neck. He squeezed until the man soiled himself, lost consciousness, and fell to the floor, according to prosecutors.

While Guasamucare-Garcia strangled the man, Fernando Loyo-Rodriguez, 22, reached into the victim’s pockets and took his phone and about $400 from his wallet, said prosecutors.

Clockwise from top left: Carlos Carreno-Carreno, Yonnier Guasamucare-Garcia, Wilker Gutierrez-Sierra, and Fernando Loyo-Rodriguez. (Chicago Police Department)

Prosecutors said Loyo-Rodriguez placed his hand over a CTA camera lens after the victim fell to the floor. By then, though, the system had already recorded the entire attack.

Other passengers soon realized what was happening. CTA workers, tipped off by the witnesses, held the train at Pulaski and kept the four migrants contained until police took them into custody.

All four men are charged with robbery and aggravated battery by strangulation.

Judge William Fahy noted that three of them, Carreno-Carreno, Loyo-Rodriguez, and Guasamucare-Garcia, were on pretrial release for pending cases when they allegedly carried out the attack.

Loyo-Rodriguez and Carreno-Carreno have only been in the United States for three months, he said. Guasamucare-Garcia has been here one month.

Fahy detained those three men as public safety threats. But he rejected the prosecution’s request to keep Gutierrez-Sierra in custody, opting to put him on an ankle monitor instead.

Court records show that Carreno-Carreno and Loyo-Rodriguez were arrested together for allegedly shoplifting at the Ross Dress For Less in Morton Grove on January 21. They were cited and released.

Guasamucare-Garcia was arrested for retail theft at Saks Off Fifth in the Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont on December 30, court records show. Rosemont police said he also possessed a blue bag with a foil lining designed to defeat shoplifting sensor devices.

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About Tim Hecke 252 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 tim@cwbchicago.com