Feds land hefty prison sentence, indictment in fight against Chicago carjackings

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall sentenced Elias Quinones-Figueroa to more than 12 years in prison for stealing a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe in 2020 while pointing a .22-caliber pistol at the victim.

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Federal prosecutors say this picture shows the damage caused to a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe by a crash after it had been carjacked in May 2020.

Federal prosecutors say this picture shows the damage caused to a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe by a crash after it had been carjacked in May 2020.

U.S. District Court records

Federal prosecutors recently secured a lengthy prison sentence for a Chicago carjacker who seriously injured a bicyclist while fleeing at high speeds, as well as a separate indictment against another man accused of stealing an SUV on Michigan Avenue.

“The news cycle in Chicago is dominated by violence,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn McCarthy wrote in a court memo last month. “Particularly the senseless, reckless and extremely dangerous violent crime of carjacking. Innocent persons living their lives and going about their business have found themselves with the barrel of a loaded gun pointed at them, threatened and hurt as violent offenders forcibly take their vehicles away.”

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall on Monday sentenced Elias Quinones-Figueroa, 21, to more than 12 years in prison for stealing a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe on May 27, 2020, while pointing a .22-caliber pistol at the victim. He then sped up to 78 mph while fleeing police, hitting the rear wheel of a bicycle at Ogden Avenue and Hubbard Street.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Noah Ransom was ordered detained by a judge Wednesday following his indictment in a separate case last week on charges of carjacking and using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. 

In his memo last month, McCarthy wrote that carjackings in Chicago rose 135% from 2019 to 2020. He said 40 Chicago police officers have been added to a carjacking task force to help attack the problem.

Quinones-Figueroa’s victim had been cleaning the inside of the Tahoe on the afternoon of May 27, 2020, when Quinones-Figueroa and a juvenile walked up to the car. Quinones-Figueroa got into the driver’s seat of the car and pointed his pistol at the victim, according to McCarthy’s memo. The juvenile also pointed a loaded gun at the victim, said, “Give it up,” and got in the front passenger seat, the prosecutor wrote. 

Prosecutors say these are the guns used in the carjacking of a Chevrolet Tahoe in May 2020.

Prosecutors say these are the guns used in the carjacking of a Chevrolet Tahoe in May 2020.

U.S. District Court records

The victim backed away, and Quinones-Figueroa and the juvenile drove away in the Tahoe, according to the feds. 

Still in the Tahoe three hours later, at 6:12 p.m., the pair saw a marked CPD vehicle at Armour Street and Grand Avenue and decided to flee even though the police vehicle did not have its lights or siren activated, McCarthy wrote. Quinones-Figueroa turned east on Hubbard and sped up to 78 mph, blowing through at least two stop signs, records show. 

Then, while speeding through a red light at 50 mph at Ogden and Hubbard, the feds say Quinones-Figueroa hit the rear wheel of a bicycle, sending its rider into the air and over the hood of a pickup truck. The bicyclist suffered multiple broken bones and still has not regained full use of his limbs, according to McCarthy.

Quinones-Figueroa eventually crashed into a red Chevrolet SUV parked on Hubbard, McCarthy wrote. He and the juvenile climbed out of the passenger side window and fled until a good Samaritan took Quinones-Figueroa down to the ground, helping police take him into custody, McCarthy wrote. The feds say police also recovered a black bag containing the loaded guns used in the carjacking.

In Ransom’s case, records show the victim, a Lyft driver, picked up an account holder known as “Moneybagg Uzi” at 600 N. State St. about 4 a.m. on April 9, 2022. Five men got into the victim’s white 2019 Lexus RX350 outside the Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel.

One, alleged to be Ransom, got into the front passenger seat of the Lexus and eventually pointed a gun with a large extended magazine at the victim, records show. 

“Don’t try any funny business,” Ransom allegedly said. “Stop, put your seat back, and get out of the car.”

The victim stopped the Lexus on Michigan near Madison Street and watched as the person with the gun got into the driver’s seat and drove away, records show. The Illinois State Police found the car at 5:35 a.m. at 43rd Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway and pursued it for about 25 minutes, records show. A prosecutor alleged Wednesday that Ransom drove as fast as 120 mph during the chase.

The state police finally forced the car to stop near Tilden and Aberdeen streets, according to the feds.

Six people got out and fled on foot, but all were apprehended, records show. One of them later explained that the sixth person in the car had been picked up near the University of Illinois-Chicago after the carjacking.

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