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Man live-streamed self on social media using hammer to break into ATM: police

Arron Neal, of West Englewood, faces felony counts of burglary and criminal damage to property, Chicago police Supt. David Brown said in a press conference Saturday.

A man tried to break into an ATM in this live-streamed video shared by Chicago police.
A man tried to break into an ATM in this live-streamed video shared by Chicago police.
Screen-grab from CPD video

A 20-year-old man faces charges after live-streaming video of himself on social media as he tried to break into an ATM with a hammer Monday during looting and civil unrest downtown.

Arron Neal, of West Englewood, now faces felony charges of burglary and criminal damage to property for the alleged incident in the 800 block of North State, Chicago police announced Saturday.

Police were able to identify and arrest Neal after he “stared directly into a cellphone camera, smiled and brazenly went back to breaking into an ATM with a hammer early Monday,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said.

Arron Neal.
Arron Neal.
Chicago police

Investigators received tips through a new online portal where video footage has been uploaded from the widespread theft and property damage that overtook the downtown area and other neighborhoods.

“We posted this video on our website and within 90 minutes, members of the community contacted us and solved this crime,” Brown said. “What happened downtown and on the West Side last week had nothing to do with protesting, it was criminal behavior, and it will not be tolerated in the city of Chicago.”

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown walks to a press conference outside Chicago Police Department’s headquarters Saturday morning, Aug. 15, 2020.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown walks to a press conference outside Chicago Police Department’s headquarters Saturday morning, Aug. 15, 2020. Brown announced the felony charges that were made against Arron Neal, who allegedly live streamed an attempt to break an ATM during last weekend’s looting spree.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

On Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced additional measures the city is taking to prevent further mayhem, including a social media task force scouting the web for any hint looting might be in the works.

At least 42 felony cases have been filed in connection with the looting incidents, according to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office.

Police are continuing to post videos and photos of individuals “who have already committed criminal acts,” and are asking the community and business owners to come forward and help identify the suspects, CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said.

“That’s the way the system is supposed to work, but it will not work unless people go to our website, view the videos and give us tips,” Deenihan added.

Neal was ordered held on $100,000 bond Saturday, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. He is due back in court Aug. 24th.