Two suspects in a west suburban auto theft last week were arrested after they allegedly abandoned the stolen car during a police chase and later called for a taxi to leave the area.
Amir J. Johnson, 19, and 18-year-old Darien L. Jones are accused of stealing a 2004 Mazda from a gas station at 7140 W. Roosevelt Road in Oak Park just after 10 p.m. March 15, according to a statement from Riverside police.
The victim, a 24-year-old man, left his car running at the pump while he went into the station to buy food, police said. One of the suspects distracted him inside the store while the other stole the car. He drove about 50 feet away and waited for the second suspect to get in the car before driving away southbound on Harlem.
A Riverside officer spotted the Mazda driving recklessly on Ogden Avenue at Lionel Road a few hours later at 12:57 a.m. March 16, police said. When the officer identified the car as stolen and tried to pull it over, the suspects ignored the lights and siren and drove away.
They drove the Mazda to 45th Street and Lawndale Avenue in Lyons, where they jumped out of the car while it was still moving and ran off on foot, police said. The Mazda then rolled backwards and hit the front of the pursuing Riverside police car, causing damage to both vehicles.
Investigators set up a perimeter in the area to search for the suspects but did not find them, police said. Further investigation over the next few days revealed that a cab company had been called to pick up two people from an intersection in Lyons about 2 a.m. March 16 and drop them off at an intersection in Maywood.
The cab company information eventually led officers to Johnson and Jones, who were arrested March 22, according to police. They were each charged with one felony count of auto theft.
Johnson, who lives in the 1700 block of West Cermak Road in Broadview, was out on bond for a 2015 felony burglary charge at the time of his arrest, police said.
He is currently being held at the Cook County Jail on a $5,000 bond, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. His next court date is scheduled for March 28 in Maywood.
Jones, who lives in the 1900 block of South 18th Avenue in Maywood, had one prior arrest for a traffic offense, police said. Court information for him was not immediately available.