Car thieves nabbed in Riverside

Cab ride links suspects to auto theft in Oak Park

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Two suspected car thieves on the run from police are in custody in Riverside after a call to a cab company led police to their location, according to a police news release.

Riverside police have arrested two men – Amir J. Johnson, 19, of the 1700 block of West Cermak Road in Broadview and Darien L. Jones, 18, of the 1900 block of S. 18th Avenue in Maywood – and charged each with one count of felony auto theft for allegedly stealing a car – a 2004 Mazda 4-door – in Oak Park on March 15.

Video surveillance from the Shell gas station at 7140 W. Roosevelt Road show that at 10:02 p.m. Johnson and Jones stole a vehicle that was left running at the pump while its owner, a 24-year-old Chicago resident, went into the gas station to buy food.

One of the suspects distracted the victim in the convenience store, while the other man stole the car, drove about 50 feet and waited as the other man fled the store and joined him. Johnson and Jones then fled southbound on Harlem from Roosevelt.

About three hours later, a Riverside police officer witnessed the Mazda driving recklessly at the intersection of Ogden Avenue and Lionel Road. The officer attempted to pull over the vehicle headed westbound on Ogden, but the driver fled to Lawndale Avenue and then east on 45th Street in Lyons. The two men allegedly jumped out of the vehicle and fled, while the Mazda rolled backward, striking the Riverside police car.

A search of the area was unsuccessful, but police later learned that at about 2 a.m. a local cab company got a call to take the two suspects to a location in Maywood. This led police to the offenders' location on March 22, according to the press release.

Police report that Jones has one prior arrest for a traffic offense and Johnson was out on bond for a felony burglary charge from 2015 that is still pending in Cook County court. Riverside police have requested the State Attorney's office revoke Johnson's bond in light of the new felony charge.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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