Car theft ring used stolen, fake identities to buy luxury cars in Cook, DuPage counties

  • Attorney General Kwame Raoul, backed by representatives of federal and local enforcement agencies, and partners in the banking, insurance and automotive industries, Tuesday announces charges in a statewide car theft ring.

    Attorney General Kwame Raoul, backed by representatives of federal and local enforcement agencies, and partners in the banking, insurance and automotive industries, Tuesday announces charges in a statewide car theft ring. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, at the podium, was joined by DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin and representatives from federal and local enforcement agencies and the banking, insurance and automotive industries in announcing criminal charges regarding organized automobile thefts.

    Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, at the podium, was joined by DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin and representatives from federal and local enforcement agencies and the banking, insurance and automotive industries in announcing criminal charges regarding organized automobile thefts. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin was among the people talking Tuesday in Wheaton about criminal charges in a statewide car theft ring.

    DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin was among the people talking Tuesday in Wheaton about criminal charges in a statewide car theft ring. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/28/2021 7:15 PM

Six people have been charged with operating a car theft ring that used stolen or false identities to buy automobiles from dealerships, including several in DuPage and Cook counties.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin announced the charges at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

 

The ring was led, Raoul said, by Anthony Brown, 40, of Lansing, and Sierra Wells, 27, of Orland Park. They are charged with identity theft, aggravated possession of a motor vehicle, organizing a continuing financial crimes enterprise, theft by deception, financial institution fraud and forgery.

Raoul said indictments allege that during the fall of 2020, the duo came up with a scheme to take high-value vehicles. Wells is accused of providing the identities to Brown, who then used money and drugs to recruit people to apply for financing at car dealerships and buy the vehicles, Raoul said.

Brown and Wells could receive probation or six to 30 years in prison if convicted.

The case was investigated by Raoul's office, the Secret Service, and the Barrington and West Chicago police departments, plus banks, insurers and representatives of the automotive industry. Raoul said the Westmont Police Department was also involved.

Raoul said Brown is a rapper who goes by the stage name Tony Sosa.

Kevin Bandy, 48; DeAngelo Hackney, 39; James Krout, 47; and Zebedee Moore, 48, were charged with identity theft, aggravated possession of a stolen motor vehicle, theft by deception, financial institution fraud, and forgery. They face two to 15 years in prison. According to DuPage County court records, Bandy lives in Hammond, Indiana; Hackney lives in Ford Heights; and Krout lives in Chicago.

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The cases are being prosecuted in DuPage and Cook counties, but Raoul did not specify which case is in which county.

DuPage County court records indicate charges were filed against Wells on Aug. 31. She was released from DuPage County jail on Sept. 2.

The group is accused of seven thefts in DuPage County and six in Cook County. Napleton Porsche, Laurel BMW and McGrath Lexus in Westmont, Bill Jacobs Volkswagen in Naperville, Lucky Motors in Villa Park and Haggerty Ford in West Chicago were among the victims, according to DuPage County court records.

David Sloan, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, said he was glad to hear of the arrests.

"This is becoming a bigger and bigger problem at area car dealerships," he said. "Both with identity theft, and also just late-night carjacking off dealership lots. Oftentimes, you find these vehicles that are stolen are then used in other crimes."

Berlin said $5.7 million in vehicles were stolen last year in DuPage and that thefts have "skyrocketed" the last two years.

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