5 juveniles charged in theft of disabled woman's van in South Austin

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Five children were charged in connection with the theft of a disabled woman's van on Chicago's West Side. She was at church when the vehicle was stolen.

After Regina Austin attended service Sunday at Evangelical Outreach Deliverance Ministries in the 5600-block of West Madison Street, she found her white 2007 Dodge Caravan had disappeared.

"That's the way that I get around. I have doctors, specialists that I see several times a month, sometimes several times a week. I get to church. I transport other people, my ailing grandmother. We transport her in the van. And now we have nothing," Austin said.

She asked whoever took her van to return it to the church parking lot, no questions asked. But that is not how she got her van back. Police returned it to her after chasing down two boys and three girls allegedly involved in the theft.

Patrol officers saw the group driving through an alley near North Lamon and West Maypole avenues in Chicago's South Austin neighborhood around 6:25 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

The officers tried to pull over the driver, after police said a license-plate check showed the van was the same one reported stolen by Austin.

The kids allegedly jumped out of the van and tried to run away. But all five were caught and taken into custody.

One boy was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, which is a felony. The other boy and three girls were charged with criminal trespass to a vehicle, which is a misdemeanor.

Police did not release the suspects' names because they are juveniles. No court information was available.