Dec. 12, 2017 – Oak Park Police have made another arrest in connection with three recent carjackings in the community.
This most recent arrest came Thursday in Chicago and closes the investigations into three similar carjacking incidents reported in September and October in northeast Oak Park.
So far this year, Oak Park Police have arrested nine individuals in connection with 10 separate carjacking incidents. Investigations are continuing into seven open carjacking cases.
Arrested Thurs., Dec. 7 was Brandon J. Steward, 18, of the 1600 block of North Parkside Avenue, in Chicago. He was charged with aggravated vehicular highjacking in connection with three separate incidents - Sept. 22 in the 1000 block of North Hayes Avenue, Sept. 29 in the 700 block of North Hayes Avenue and Oct. 7 in the 900 block of North Humphrey Avenue.
Steward is being held without bail in Cook County Jail pending a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m., Fri., Dec. 15 at the Fourth Municipal District Courthouse in Maywood.
Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose said the community can rest assured that preventing these types of crimes and catching the offenders are top priorities. Patrols have been stepped up throughout the community with additional officers on the streets to heighten Police visibility. Patrols also are being supported by by undercover officers.
“Vehicle hijackings tend to be random and difficult to predict, but we have made significant headway in solving the incidents that have occurred in our community,” said Ambrose said. “As citizens embrace daily routines that include simple steps to reduce their chances of being a victim, we believe these types of crimes will occur less often in our community.”
Although the man arrested in connection with the September incidents will be prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system, Ambrose said the recent rash of carjackings occurring here and throughout the Chicagoland area have often involved juvenile offenders who tend to be treated more leniently by the courts.
Of the nine arrests made in connection with carjackings in Oak Park, three were juveniles. Two other juveniles believed to have been involved in attempted carjackings on North Lombard and North Austin Boulevard were turned over to Chicago Police who charged them for incidents that same night in Chicago.
Ambrose said prosecutions are critical to law enforcement, but once an arrest is made the responsibility shifts to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, which is why Oak Park Police place so much emphasis on crime prevention.
“Being aware of one’s surroundings is the single most important tip I can give a resident,” he said. “The second tip is don’t hesitate to call 911. Oak Park Police rely on residents who are willing to report suspicious persons and activities. We would rather respond and find out everything is okay than have to investigate a crime that might have been prevented with a call.”
Residents who call 911 from a cell phone are urged to immediately say Oak Park in case their carrier directs the call to Chicago. The call will be will transferred immediately to the dispatch center in River Forest that handles emergency calls for Oak Park.
More information on crime prevention is posted at www.oak-park.us/preventcrime.
Brandon J. Steward