Retired homicide detective catches teen stealing BMW - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Retired homicide detective catches teen stealing BMW

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Gerald Hamilton, a retired Chicago homicide detective, held the alleged car thief until police arrived. Gerald Hamilton, a retired Chicago homicide detective, held the alleged car thief until police arrived.
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A teen who was charged with vehicular hijacking for allegedly stealing a BMW from a Hyde Park gas station last week was ordered held without bond Wednesday.

The boy, 16, was charged with vehicular hijacking, robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle and criminal damage to property, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. He was ordered held without bond and is scheduled to appear in court next on June 5. His name was not released because he is charged as a juvenile.

On May 10, the teen allegedly stole a BMW from a gas station in the 5100 block of South Lake Park Avenue about 11 a.m. A retired Chicago homicide detective, who was in the area with his son, witnessed the teen trying to steal the car.

“I told myself, ‘I’m retired, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let this kid get away,’” said Gerald Hamilton, the retired detective. “So I became unretired for a few minutes.”

The police say a teenage boy saw a late-model BMW left running and unattended at a gas station, hopped in and sped off.

The car’s 34-year-old owner gave chase, hanging from the driver’s side and pulling on the steering wheel as the teenager drove off, Officer Ana Pacheco said,

The car collided with a Mercedes Benz, sending the owner flying. He landed underneath another car, and the BMW crashed into an LA Fitness club at 5235 S. Harper.

Hamilton and his 28-year-old son saw what happened.

“It was terrible,” the retired detective said. “When the BMW collided with the Benz, it threw the owner loose. Unfortunately, nobody was looking for a grown man flying through traffic and one car couldn’t stop. That’s how the car came to a resting place on top of the man.”

Hamilton said it took “at least 10 people” to lift the vehicle and get the man out from under it.

“The crews from the 911 ambulance literally had to lift the car off of him,’ Hamilton said. “You could just see his shoes and legs hanging out underneath the car.”

When he saw the car thief jump out and start running, Hamilton said he and his 28-year-old son ran after him, tackled him and held him down in a nearby parking lot until the police arrived.

The BMW’s owner was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, Pacheco said.

Hamilton said he was surprised the man survived.

“The main thing to take away from this -- and you see it all the time -- is take that extra second and remove your keys from your car,” he said. “It was terrible. So many people saw this happen.”

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