Teen accused of stealing Mundelein police stun gun, authorities say

  • Justice J. Morgan, 18, of Waukegan, faces charges for stealing a stun gun from the Mundelein police station.

    Justice J. Morgan, 18, of Waukegan, faces charges for stealing a stun gun from the Mundelein police station.

  • A teenager has been charged with stealing a stun gun at the Mundelein police station during a youth group meeting this month.

    A teenager has been charged with stealing a stun gun at the Mundelein police station during a youth group meeting this month. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/29/2016 4:21 PM

A Waukegan teen faces felony charges after stealing a stun gun during a youth program meeting at the Mundelein police station, authorities announced Tuesday.

Justice J. Morgan, 18, of the 100 block of Harding Avenue, was applying to join Mundelein's Police Explorer youth program and removed the weapon from an unlocked file cabinet March 10, Mundelein Public Safety Director Eric Guenther said.

 

The theft went undiscovered until Saturday, when Morgan was arrested after a traffic stop in Waukegan.

Waukegan police found the weapon inside the car, Guenther said. They called Mundelein police about the weapon Monday after learning its origins.

Waukegan police also found Morgan's car was equipped with police-style, green-and-blue lights, Guenther said.

Additionally, items connected to the Kenosha County sheriff's department later were found in Morgan's house, Guenther said. Morgan was active with Kenosha County's Explorers program, Guenther said. He didn't know how Morgan got the items from Kenosha police.

Morgan is charged with felony theft and felony unlawful use of a weapon. Lake County circuit court Judge Christen Bishop set Morgan's bond at $5,000 during a hearing Tuesday morning.

It's the latest black eye for Chicago-area Police Explorer programs.

In January, a civilian employee with the Elgin Police Department was arrested after investigators said he stole more than $6,000 from that city's Explorer program.

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And in a scandal that drew international attention, Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz killed himself in September 2015 because he feared thefts from the Explorer post he led were about to be discovered. Gliniewicz's widow, Melodie Gliniewicz, now faces charges in the case.

Morgan had attended "a couple" Mundelein Police Explorer meetings and wasn't yet a member, Guenther said.

Morgan stole the stun gun during a gathering in the department's roll call room while the officers who advise the group were briefly out of the room, Guenther said.

"He just slipped it into his jacket and walked away with it," Guenther said.

The room is off-limits to civilians unless they're accompanied by department employees, he said.

Morgan never fired the weapon, but he had turned it on and off several times, Guenther said. The stun gun was valued at $900, police said.

Nothing else was stolen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Guenther described Morgan as a "wannabe" cop.

"We're very disappointed in this young man," he said. "This is a well-run program with very good kids who've given back a lot to our community."

Mundelein's Explorers group has four advisers and about 20 members. The group meets weekly at the police station. Teens are trained in police techniques including accident investigation, communication, criminal investigation, dealing with domestic violence and responding to medical emergencies.

Participants in the Explorers club and other community programs run by the police department undergo background checks through the department and court system, Guenther said.

After Morgan's arrest, the police officers who advise the Explorer group were instructed about better supervision during meetings, Guenther said. No further disciplinary action has been taken, he said.

Procedural changes are coming, however. For example, the drawer from which the weapon was stolen will be locked and accessible only by a police supervisor, Guenther said.

Additionally, police will conduct an equipment inventory to ensure nothing else is missing.

The case hasn't shaken Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz's support of the Explorer program.

"It's an unfortunate and isolated incident and steps have been taken to ensure that it won't happen again," Lentz said.

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