Oak Park police have arrested an 18-year-old Chicago resident suspected of hijacking three vehicles in the village during September and October.
Police said in a press release that they have arrested Brandon J. Steward, of the 1600 block of North Parkside Avenue, Chicago, on Thursday, Dec. 7, and charged him with an aggravated vehicular hijacking on Sept. 22 in the 1000 block of North Hayes Avenue, on Sept. 29 in the 700 block of North Hayes Avenue and on Oct. 7 in the 900 block of North Humphrey Avenue.
Steward is being held without bond at Cook County Jail, awaiting his next heating on Dec. 15, at the Fourth Municipal District Courthouse in Maywood.
Oak Park Police Chief Antony Ambrose said in the press release that preventing carjackings and catching offenders is a top priority for police. He said that police department has increased patrols with additional officers to heighten police visibility, along with 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," 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."
Ambrose said that of the nine arrests made by Oak Park police connected to recent carjackings, three were juveniles.
In addition, two other juveniles suspected of being involved in recent attempted carjackings on Austin Boulevard and Lombard Avenue were turned over to Chicago police and charged with a different crime.
Ambrose advised residents to be aware of their surroundings and call 911 when in doubt.
"We would rather respond and find out everything is OK than have to investigate a crime that might have been prevented with a call," Ambrose said.
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