While the Illinois State Police are taking six months or more to process concealed carry applications (in violation of state law, mind you), there are still tens of thousands of residents across the state who’ve successfully managed to navigate the maze of red tape and bureaucratic barriers put between them and their right to bear arms. On Friday, one of those concealed carry licensees was forced to use his lawfully-carried handgun when he was the victim of an attempted carjacking in the Hoffman Estates neighborhood in Chicago.
Two 16-year-old boys were shot by a motorist they tried to carjack at gunpoint Friday morning at a gas station in suburban Hoffman Estates, police said.
As the teens were stealing the car, the man – a concealed carry license holder – took out a gun and shot at the pair.
The wounded teens ditched the stolen car a short distance away and were gone by the time police arrived, police said.
While the pair took off before police could get there, two teenagers showed up a Chicago hospital a couple of hours later to be treated for gunshot wounds. The teens claimed they’d been the victims of an attempted robbery themselves, but police are at last report treating them as persons of interest in the Hoffman Estates carjacking.
As the website CWB Chicago recently reported, these types of crimes are becoming increasingly common across the city, with reported carjackings up almost 40% compared to last year.
The Windy City’s hustling hijackers ripped off 1,165 cars through September 18 this year, the city’s online crime data portal says. That’s 37% higher than last year and 199% higher than 2019.
And it’s 220% more than the number experienced by white-knuckled New Yorkers.
September in Chicago, with 95 cases as of the 18th, is pacing 44% ahead of the same month last year.
As we head in the final quarter of 2021, here’s a comparison of this year’s carjacking numbers for selected neighborhoods and community areas. West Town, which includes neighborhoods like Bucktown, Wicker Park, Noble Square, Ukrainian Village, and the Fulton River District, has the second-most cases of the city’s 77 community areas. Austin is first with 94 hijackings reported, according to the city’s data.
While most of the carjackings that have been reported remain unsolved, occasionally police are able to catch a break. Sometimes it’s because the intended victim was able to defend themselves, but there’ve also been some more random encounters, like the arrest of 20-year old Jakolbi Lard, who was recently found behind the wheel of an SUV that had been reported as carjacked just a few days earlier. As it turns out, Lard had been sentenced to probation for a 2020 robbery case just two months before he was caught driving the stolen SUV.
On the evening of January 16, 2020, police responded to the Southport station after 911 callers reported that a passenger had been robbed on board a train. Cops arrived to find the alleged victim and a good Samaritan detaining Lard on the platform.
Prosecutors said Lard stole a 55-year-old man’s phone on the train and then battered a witness who came to the victim’s aid. Lard also struck the victim when the man tried to get his phone back, the spokesperson said. Two other men who were reportedly involved in the mugging got away.
Lard’s father, Charles, was the oldest of 21 people to die in the E2 nightclub tragedy in 2003, according to a contemporaneous Chicago Tribune report.
Two days after the robbery, detectives tracked down one of the other alleged robbers, 19-year-old Meleh Jackson of River North. Jackson was supposed to be on electronic monitoring for a pending domestic violence case at the time of the robbery, and he was on probation for theft in a case that began as a robbery charge.
He also received probation in the Southport robbery.
Is anybody really shocked that someone who got a slap on the wrist for a robbery just a few months ago felt emboldened enough to go rolling down the street in a stolen car? The odds of Lard getting pulled over were already low, but I can’t help but think the 20-year old assumed that if he was arrested he’d quickly be released on bond and would be offered another plea bargain long before any case went to trial.
That won’t happen in this particular case, since the judge ordered Lard held without bond for violating the terms of his probation in the robbery sentence, but far too many crimes are going unsolved and unpunished in Chicago. It’s no surprise then that more residents are choosing to obtain a concealed carry license in order to protect themselves, but it is unconscionable that they’re having to twiddle their thumbs for months on end before they can legally exercise their right of self-defense in Chicago’s crime-plagued neighborhoods.