Jeep thief chased, caught

By James Mitchell
LINCOLN PARK — An easily-identifiable 1995 Jeep was reported stolen shortly before midnight Jan. 15; about three hours later a 27-year-old suspect was in custody.

A man parked the Jeep at his house in the 4000 block of Longtin Avenue around 10:30 p.m., and at 11:55 p.m. noticed it missing. He reported the theft to police, including the fact that the Jeep had a paper dealer’s plate in the rear window.

About 1:20 a.m., a patrol officer noticed the Jeep at a gas station near Fort and Cleveland streets, and saw the suspect, Robert Orville West Jr., leave the store and drive off. The officer attempted a traffic stop of the Jeep, which took off south on Fort Street before turning west on Progress, traveling 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. The suspect lost control of the vehicle and struck a fence and tree in the 2900 block of Green.

West then fled the vehicle and was chased down and tackled by officers, one of whom was allegedly bitten by West during the arrest. West was taken into custody and arraigned Tuesday in 25th District Court on charges of auto theft, fleeing and eluding and felonious assault on a police officer. West was given a $50,000 cash bond and remained in custody as of press time awaiting a preliminary examination on Jan. 31 before Judge David Bajorek.