Stolen police badge found in car of man who tried to rape woman, posed as cop: prosecutors
“Do you know what it feels like to be raped?” 30-year-old Jeffrey Crowder allegedly asked the woman.
A badge stolen from a suburban police department was found in the car of a Bellwood man charged with attempting to rape a woman after he held a gun to her and told her he was a police officer, according to Cook County prosecutors.
The 24-year-old woman, who works as a prostitute, first called police and then reached out to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability last month, prosecutors said in court Wednesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
Jeffrey Crowder, 30, was denied bail at the hearing as he faced a felony count of criminal sexual assault in the case.
Prosecutors said Crowder was not a police officer, but a search of his car resulted in investigators finding a police badge that had been reported stolen from the Summit Police Department and a two BB guns.
The woman said she was approached by Crowder in the early morning hours of Sept. 22 in the 4400 block of West Lake Street in the East Garfield Park neighborhood while she was standing at a street corner, prosecutors said. She got into his car and he drove to an alley, where he parked and got into the back seat with the woman.
Prosecutors said the woman became uncomfortable while performing a sex act on Crowder when he asked her “Have you ever been raped?” and “Do you know what it feels like to be raped?”
She tried to get out of the car, but Crowder grabbed her by the hair and pointed a black handgun at her, prosecutors said. He then allegedly told her that he was a police officer, but said “he doesn’t let his job get in the way.”
The woman was able to reach a canister of pepper spray that she carries for protection and sprayed Crowder, prosecutors said. She was able to get out of the car and then went back to the corner where she met him and told a friend what had happened. They went to a nearby gas station and reported what happened to police.
Prosecutors said police POD cameras in the area showed Crowder driving up to the woman and her getting into his car. About 30 minutes later, cameras recorded the woman returning to the corner and “speaking anxiously” with her friend before they walked to the gas station.
The next evening, the woman and her friend were riding a bus and saw Crowder in his car and took a video of the car and its license plate. They then provided the footage to COPA, prosecutors said.
Crowder was taken into custody Oct. 7 and allowed investigators to search his car, prosecutors said. They then discovered the badge, which had been stolen from a Summit police lieutenant, the BB guns and $120 in counterfeit U.S. currency, prosecutors said.
The woman identified Crowder in a photo array and identified one of the BB guns as the weapon Crowder had with him during the attempted sexual assault, prosecutors said.
In May 2015, prosecutors said another sex worker reported to police that she had met Crowder for sex and that he pulled a gun on her and took her purse before she was able to escape from his car. Crowder was arrested and a BB gun was confiscated from his car, but he was released when investigators were unable to make contact with the woman again..
Prosecutors said detectives are renewing their efforts to locate the woman in that incident.
An assistant public defender for Crowder said he worked as a welder and had no prior convictions.
Judge Arthur Wesley Willis told Crowder he was ordering him held without bail in the case, saying he found him to be a danger to the community and noting “he said he was a police officer and there was a stolen badge found in his car.”
Crowder’s next court appearance was scheduled for Oct. 16.