DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin and Willowbrook Chief of Police Robert Schaller announced today that a fifteen-year-old juvenile charged with Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking with a Firearm, a Class X Felony, appeared at a detention hearing this morning where Judge Anthony Coco ordered the juvenile to be detained until at least his next court date which is scheduled for October 21, 2021 for status. The juvenile has also been charged with one count of Obstructing Justice, a Class 4 Felony.
On October 13, 2021, at approximately 2:45 p.m., officers from the Willowbrook Police Department were dispatched to the Target store located at 7601 Kingery Highway for the report of a vehicular hijacking. Upon their arrival, officers spoke with the female victim and initiated an investigation. It is alleged that after the victim finished loading items into her vehicle, she was approached by the juvenile as she was about to enter the driver’s side door. It is alleged while pointing a gun at the victim, the juvenile told her, “Give me the (expletive) keys” and “look at the gun.” It is alleged that the juvenile continued to demand the keys to the victim’s car. It is further alleged that after the victim gave the juvenile her keys, she ran back to the Target store and called 911. The investigation led authorities to a nearby hotel where the juvenile was taken into custody without incident within one hour. At the time of his arrest, the juvenile had multiple pending forcible felony cases in Cook County and one pending forcible felony out of Will County.
“For the second time this week, in a brazen display of violence, an innocent person became a victim of a vehicular hijacking from a busy store parking lot in the middle of the afternoon,” Berlin said. “What is particularly disturbing about the allegations in this case is that the accused is a fifteen-year-old juvenile, who currently has three pending forcible felonies out of Cook County and one forcible felony case in Will County. The fact that this juvenile was out on pre-trial release facing multiple felonies and armed with a gun is very troubling. While it is true that the juvenile justice system is restorative in nature, it is also true that the system must still protect the public at large. If the allegations in this case are proven true, perhaps it is time to address some of the issues that allow a repeat, violent juvenile offender, as alleged in this case, the opportunity to commit further violent crimes while awaiting disposition on previous pending felonies. Thankfully, the victim in this case was not physically harmed. I commend the Willowbrook Police Department for their outstanding work on this case which led to the juvenile’s apprehension within an hour of the alleged incident. I also thank DuPage County MERIT as well as Assistant State’s Attorneys Alyssa Rabulinski and Lynn Cavallo for their efforts on this case.”
“We are all grateful that the victim in this case escaped without injury,” Schaller said. “Unfortunately, seemingly random incidents, such as what is alleged in this complaint, are difficult to predict. To protect yourself from this type of random violence, I urge everyone to pay attention to your surroundings when out in public. There are precautionary measures you can take to protect yourself should you feel threatened or something is amiss such as calling 911, activating your car alarm from your key fob or walking past your vehicle and returning to where you came from. I thank the Willowbrook Police Department’s afternoon shift and Investigative Division as well as DuPage MERIT for their quick work on this case and their dedication to the safety of DuPage County residents. I would also like to thank DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin’s Office for their legal guidance throughout this incident.”
Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the respondent’s guilt. A respondent is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.