Cops tackle suspected bike thief on Chicago expressway (Video)

A Chicago police officer tackles William Wagner on the Dan Ryan Expressway. (Chicago Critter; Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — Video footage of a Chicago cop tackling a bicyclist on the Dan Ryan Expressway is going viral this weekend, and people who’ve seen it are full of opinions and jokes.

“Sadly, he is moving faster than the cars… THIS HIGHWAY PROJECT IS THE WORST!!!!” Kevin Cruz replied to the video, which was shared on Twitter and Instagram by the Chicago Critter account.

“This is a GREAT video,” celebrated @paxtrader777.

“Chicago police will do all this but not stop protesters from blocking the highway,” observed @TexaninWI.

If you haven’t seen the video, here it is. Be warned, the narrator uses “colorful” language:

We did some digging to learn more about what the video showed. As it turns out, the guy on the bike was wanted for more than riding his bicycle on an interstate. The bike, officials say, was stolen.

It happened around 11:50 a.m. Friday on the inbound Dan Ryan. Police initially located the man via the city’s surveillance camera network. Patrol officers moved in as he rode past Sox Park and turned onto the highway.

Police identified the bicyclist as William Wagner, 30, of Yorkville. A CPD spokesperson said the bike had been reported stolen and Wagner had three outstanding warrants.

He appeared in court Saturday morning to face charges of misdemeanor theft of lost or mislaid property and felony possession of a controlled substance, according to court records.

Prosecutors dropped the drug charge in court. Judge William Fahy said Wagner would have headed home from the courthouse had he not had outstanding warrants. Instead, Wagner is sitting in the Cook County jail, waiting to appear before the two judges who signed arrest warrants when he failed to appear for pending cases.

One of those cases, filed in March 2023, accuses Wagner of retail theft and obstruction of identification in Niles. Court records show he never appeared in court after being released on his own recognizance. Judge Frank Andreou put out a warrant for his arrest in June 2023.

Wagner was arrested in the suburbs for obstruction of identification again late last year. Despite having an active arrest warrant, he was released from the police station and never showed up for court, records show. Judge Ellen Mandeltort signed an arrest warrant in that case on December 23.

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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