While the Chicago PD recorded a decline in carjackings in 2023, the number of reported vehicle thefts is at an all-time high. There were more than 26,000 incidents in the city last year, and that number doesn’t look to be dropping much at all in the first few weeks of 2024.
One Chicago resident managed to track down his vehicle after it was stolen recently, but ended up getting shot at as he tried to recover his SUV.
According to police, a 31-year-old man spotted his previously stolen vehicle in the first block of West 87th Street at approximately 8:50 a.m. Sunday.
As he approached the car, several men inside the vehicle opened fire. The victim, who has a concealed carry license, returned fire, and the suspects fled the scene in the stolen vehicle.
That vehicle crashed a short time later, with the suspects fleeing the scene on foot.
During the exchange of gunfire, a 23-year-old suspect was hit in the right shoulder and in the neck. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was listed in serious condition, police said.
According to CBS 2, the victim of the thieves called Chicago police to report the location of the stolen vehicle and was told to keep his distance, but the man’s father-in-law says he was so frustrated that he decided to engage the strangers behind the wheel.
“He went around, by the time he was going to get up, they saw us and they start driving, and then when the other guys in the back started shooting at us,” he told CBS-2.
The car owner shot back, hitting at least one of the suspects, while the SUV crashed into a nearby cell phone store.
Police said a 23-year-old man in the vehicle was hit in the neck and took himself to the hospital in serious condition.
Police said the suspects tried to run off but a juvenile was caught and arrested.
The good news is that the concealed carry holder was unharmed, and he did manage to recover his ride. The bad news is that the Dodge Durango was totaled after the thieves crashed into the cell phone store.
This isn’t the first story that we’ve covered where armed citizens have had to defend themselves against the guys who stole their cars. In fact, this isn’t even the first story in Chicago that we’ve written about. Back in December of 2022 I covered a similar incident in the Windy City, though in that case the car’s owner apparently interrupted a burglary in progress. We’ve also reported on similar incidents in Texas and Tennessee, though in the latter case the car owner ended up being charged with reckless endangerment after he returned fire when the thieves shot at him.
Thankfully, it looks like the armed citizen who spotted his vehicle on Sunday morning isn’t facing arrest or prosecution, which is as it should be. It might not have been the smartest idea to confront the guys who took his SUV, but at the same time, I can’t say that I blame him for doing so. The odds are that police wouldn’t have shown up before the thieves drove away, and he probably believed this was the best opportunity he’d have to recover his vehicle. It’s a shame that his SUV was totaled in the process, but his motivation for acting is understandable.
While I won’t condemn the armed citizen’s actions, it’s still important to remember that a confrontation with car thieves probably won’t end with them apologizing and handing your keys over to you. There are risks in taking this kind of action, even if it is lawful, and you have to weigh whether the potential to recover your car is worth the risk of being shot at for doing so. In this case, things ended up mostly okay for the armed citizen (though not for his SUV), but I’m not sure the potential reward was worth the risk, all things considered. I suppose if nothing else there’s at least a chance that the suspects in question will have to answer for their actions, but given the crummy state of the Cook County courts I have a feeling that justice will not be done when the criminal justice system gets through with them.