CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 21-year old man who police say had a loaded 9mm pistol and NYPD tactical gear when he was arrested at Union Station, had apparently been on a 1900 mile road trip before arriving in Chicago, the I-Team has learned. In the month of March, Isaiah Malailua had been in South Florida and apparently in New York City and then Chicago.
Malailua had SWAT team gear that was stolen from a New York City squad car parked on West 42nd Street near 10th Avenue in Manhattan last Thursday about 3 a.m., NYPD officials told the ABC7 I-Team.
According to police, a smash-and-grab thief armed with a brick smashed through the rear passenger-side window of a police vehicle and grabbed a bag containing helmets, bulletproof vest panels, tourniquets, earpieces and NYPD patches. He walked off with the loot that belonged to NYPD's Strategic Response Group, police said. The SRG is New York City's version of SWAT.
On Friday night in Chicago, police say they recovered that SWAT bag in the possession of Malailua, who was walking around Union Station in the West Loop. Officers say he was wearing the NYPD body armor at the time and carrying a loaded 9mm Taurus pistol. Investigators were alerted to the bag by sniffer dogs who had detected explosive residue on the poached police equipment. He was in the ticket area of the train station, investigators said.
Malailua, whose home address is in Northern California, is being held in the Cook County jail on $100,000 bond. In his official Chicago mugshot, he sports a T-shirt that reads "South Beach," a popular tourist section of Miami. He was in the that part of South Florida on March 3, according to law enforcement records. Miami-Dade jail bookings show that he was arrested on charges of trespassing and entering a public park after hours.
Sometime between early March and last Thursday, Malailua is thought to have traveled from the Miami area to Manhattan. Although NYPD investigators have not said whether they suspect him in the patrol car burglary of SWAT gear, there is video of the smash-and-grab.
New York City police are expected to extradite Malailua on grand larceny charges, but a spokesperson for the Cook County sheriff on Tuesday said that jail officials had not yet received that request.
Armed man with stolen SWAT armor may have traveled 1,900 miles
An ABC7 I-Team Investigation