An 18-year-old man is facing multiple felony charges ― some related to the unlawful use of a weapon ― following a string of car burglaries in Flossmoor and Hazel Crest in the early morning hours on Tuesday, April 11.
Joel Brooks, of the 18700 block of Crawford Avenue in Flossmoor, was arrested after allegedly running away from officers in the 18800 block of Harding Avenue, Flossmoor Police Chief Michael Pulec said Thursday.
Pulec said Brooks was charged by Flossmoor police with three counts of burglary, one count of possession of a stolen credit card, one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and one count of possession of burglary tools. All are felonies.
Brooks was also charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, Pulec said.
According to a press release issued Wednesday by the Hazel Crest Police Department, Brooks was charged in that community with aggravated assault and burglary. During an incident early Tuesday, a man reportedly pointed a handgun at a Hazel Crest resident, police said.
The incident began at 3:30 a.m. in Hazel Crest. According to police, a resident saw a man attempting to break into a vehicle on the 18500 block of Meadow Lane. When the suspect realized he’d been spotted, he pointed a handgun at the resident, then fled the scene. Hazel Crest police said there were signs that about 20 vehicles had been tampered with or broken into.
At about 4:30 a.m., Flossmoor police received a call that a man was seen standing next to a neighbor’s car in the 18900 block of Springfield Avenue. The caller told police that he confronted the suspect, who ran away.
Minutes later, Flossmoor police got a second call, this time about a man who was walking through a yard in the 18800 block of Harding. Police went to that location and spotted the suspect. They ordered him to stop, Pulec said, but the man ran away. One of the officers managed to tackle the suspect.
Meanwhile, a Hazel Crest officer had also arrived on the scene. He told the Flossmoor officers that the suspect, while running away, had thrown something into a window well. When officers found the correct window well they discovered a screwdriver and a loaded .40 caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun, Pulec said. The weapon was reported stolen in Tinley Park, he said.
Brooks was positively identified by the resident who’d made the first call to Flossmoor police, Pulec said. Hazel Crest police said Brooks’ description matches that of the man with the gun in the earlier incident.
Pulec said Brooks was also captured on video footage from a camera posted outside a house where a break-in took place, and where a purse was stolen from a car. That video footage also provides a positive identification of Brooks, he said.
Following the April 11 arrest, Flossmoor police secured a search warrant for Brooks’ home. The warrant was executed Tuesday night, Pulec said. A number of items were discovered in plain sight in the home, he said, including unopened mail from other addresses, credit cards from other people and garage door openers. Pulec said those items will likely be used in further criminal investigations. All recovered mail will be turned over to the U.S. Postal Service.
Brooks was scheduled to have a bond hearing on Thursday afternoon at the Cook County courthouse in Markham.