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Cars Left Alone To Warm Up in Bitter Cold Are Getting Stolen

By Erica Demarest | February 18, 2015 6:07am
 Eriberto Hernandez (l.) and Lonnell Holmes (r.) were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle after two separate incidents Monday.
Eriberto Hernandez (l.) and Lonnell Holmes (r.) were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle after two separate incidents Monday.
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Shutterstock; Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — If you plan to warm up your car during this week's bitter cold, you may want to keep a watchful eye on it.

At least two cars were stolen Monday after their drivers started them up and walked away, Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said in court Tuesday.

Just after 11 a.m. Monday, a woman flagged down police in Austin and pointed toward her mother's 1997 Mercury, which was passing by near Central Avenue and Jackson Boulevard, according to a police report.

The woman told officers she had left the car running in her Cicero Avenue driveway — less than a mile away in the 1200 block of South Central Avenue — to warm it up, police and prosecutors said. When she came back, it was gone.

Police followed the car east on Jackson, the police report said.

The driver — whom authorities identified as 21-year-old Lonnell Holmes — ran a red light, drove the wrong way down a one-way street and blew through a stop sign before officers pulled him over in the 100 block of South Cicero Avenue, police said.

Holmes was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and ticketed for driving on a revoked license, failing to obey a stop sign, failing to obey a red light and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

Holmes, of the 7300 block of North Damen Avenue, was held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Later that day, a second car was stolen in Portage Park when a 31-year-old man left his 2003 Volkswagen Jetta running in a grocery store parking lot, police and prosecutors said.

The man told authorities he was warming up the car in the 4700 block of West Grace Street when he saw a man hop in the driver's seat and take off.

The owner flagged down another motorist, who helped him follow his Jetta as he called 911, according to a police report. When the owner caught up with his car near Wellington and Cicero, he got into a fight with 40-year-old Eriberto Hernandez, who was behind the wheel, the report said.

Hernandez ran off, and police arrested him a short while later in the 2900 block of North Cicero Avenue.

Hernandez, of the 4500 block of West Wrightwood Avenue, was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil released him on his own recognizance and ordered him to submit to electronic monitoring.

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