Detectives believe two men who were charged Tuesday may be responsible for a rash of carjackings across the city that occurred in a 24-hour window Sunday into Monday.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson put would-be copycats on notice: “We simply will not tolerate you carjacking the citizens of the city.”
Detectives are trying to determine whether Davontae Jones, 18, and Jason Dortch, 19, committed at least 12 brazen carjackings and robberies that occurred Sunday and Monday before police spotted them in a stolen SUV about 9:30 p.m. in the 800 block of North Racine.
One of the vehicles stolen in the carjackings was recovered at 2:11 a.m. Wednesday in the 300 block of South Seeley on the Near West Side, police said. The vehicle had been reported stolen at 4:24 a.m. Monday in the 1900 block of West Augusta.
On Tuesday night, Jones and Dortch, who both live in the Lawndale neighborhood, were charged with a felony count of aggravated vehicular hijacking, police said.
Both men were denied bond at a court appearance Wednesday, according to Cook County sheriff’s office records. Drouth was scheduled to return to court Thursday and Jones was expected back in court Monday.
Officers chased the stolen vehicle onto the Eisenhower Expressway. When the men bailed out of the car on the highway near Austin Boulevard in Oak Park, officers gave chase on foot, finally collaring both men.
A police helicopter monitored the chase from above.
A gun with an extended clip and stolen property were recovered at the scene, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Two officers who crashed their car during the chase suffered minor injuries from broken glass, he said.
“If you come out there and you think you’re going to continue to carjack, you’re wrong. We’re going to come after you with everything we have, everything at our disposal, and we will get you because this simply will not be tolerated in the city of Chicago,” Johnson said.
His comments were partially aimed at a number of juveniles from the West Side who’ve played a part in the rising number of carjackings in the city, which so far this year total 760.
Guglielmi said 180 arrests have been made in those cases. Last year, 177 arrests were made in 663 carjackings, he said. But he could not say how many of those arrests resulted in charges.
“We do know there’s been an increase in juvenile offenders committing this crime,” Johnson said, noting that detectives have determined the teens are largely from West Side neighborhoods.
In response, Johnson is sending police staff to schools in these areas “to find out what’s the driving force behind it.”
Johnson’s emissaries: Robin Robinson, a former television news anchor who’s now employed by the police department as a community affairs adviser, and Dwayne Betts, deputy chief community policing.
The duo already regularly visit high schools in high-crime neighborhoods to discuss gun violence.
“Juvenile justice is a complex issue,” Johnson said. “We recognize that their minds are not fully developed, but at the same time there has to be a consequence for those actions. We cannot wait for individuals to age out of committing those types of crimes.”
Johnson spoke to reporters after a police graduation ceremony Tuesday at Navy Pier in which 199 new cops were sworn in.
Detectives are trying to determine if the men charged Tuesday are also linked to the following carjackings and robberies that occurred:
• 4:17 a.m. Sunday in the 200 block of North Justine Street in the West Town neighborhood
• 9:26 p.m. Sunday in the 2200 block of West Walnut Street in the Fulton River District neighborhood
• 9:57 p.m. Sunday in the 700 block of North Wood Street in the West Town neighborhood
• 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1200 block of West Flournoy Street in the University Village neighborhood
• 12:09 a.m. Monday in the 300 block of South Paulina Street in the Near West Side
• 2:30 a.m. Monday in the 1300 block of North Leavitt Street in the Wicker Park neighborhood
• 2:35 a.m. Monday in the 2500 block of West Wellington in the Avondale neighborhood
• 3:02 a.m. Monday in the 400 block of North Aberdeen Street in the West Town neighborhood
• 3:30 a.m. Monday in the 3600 block of North Hamlin Avenue in The Villa neighborhood
• 4:03 a.m. Monday in the 1500 block of North Artesian Avenue in the Humboldt Park neighborhood
• 4:08 a.m. Monday in the 1400 block of North Maplewood Avenue in the Humboldt Park neighborhood
• 4:24 a.m. Monday in the 1900 block of West Augusta Boulevard in the East Ukrainian Village neighborhood