Suburban police chief fights raising bar for felony theft charges

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Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel | Riverside Police Department

A west suburban police chief is challenging newly elected Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s recent move to raise the bar for charging shoplifters with a felony.

Foxx announced in December that shoplifters must steal at least $1,000 worth of property or have 10 prior convictions to be charged with a felony, but Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel says this is not in accordance with state law, according to a statement from Riverside police.

Weitzel wrote a letter to Foxx on Dec. 19 asking her to reconsider the new policy, according to the statement.

“Police academies throughout Illinois are teaching our new recruits to enforce laws judiciously but to strictly follow state statutes so that criminal enforcement throughout Illinois is uniformed,” Weitzel said in the letter. “However, with this new policy Cook County is deviating from current state statutes.”

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

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