Editorial: Repeat offenders an area of increasing concern — part 2 of 5
‘A Criminal’s Paradise: A County Without Consequences’ — part two of five
Editor’s note: The following is the second in a five-part series. The first part appeared in the Nov. 6-12 issue.
Read all five parts of “A Criminal’s Paradise: A County Without Consequences”:
By Brandon Reid
Senior Assistant Editor
With crime statistics remaining high in the Rockford area, some areas of increasing concern, based on recent headlines, are repeat offenders, serious crimes committed by teens and a thriving drug trade. This part of the series will examine some recent headlines involving repeat offenders. These individuals were either out on bond for their previous offenses, had served their sentences, or their previous cases were dismissed.
Following are some recent headlines and details:
“Man on parole on drug charges arrested at Hancock Street apartment for possession with intent to deliver cocaine, heroin,” Oct. 24 — Albert Scott, 30, of Rockford, was arrested at his apartment at 2224 Hancock St., Oct. 24, after being found in possession of 12 grams of heroin, 40 grams of cocaine, drug packaging materials and $2,250 in United States currency. Scott was on parole for a previous violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections offender search, Scott entered prison in February 2013 to begin serving a six-year sentence for drugs as a repeat offender and a two-year sentence for driving under the influence and driving revoked. Fewer than nine months later, he was back on the streets. Parole agents doing a parolee check had contacted Rockford Police for assistance because an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet showed Scott was present in the apartment, but he was not answering the door. He was charged with violation of the Controlled Substances Act — possession of heroin with intent to deliver; violation of the Controlled Substances Act — possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver; and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Illinois Department of Corrections issued a parole violation warrant for Scott, and he is now being held at Winnebago County Jail without bond.
“Rockford man on parole for felony drug conviction again arrested on drug charges,” Oct. 15 — Mack Jones, 46, of Rockford, who was on parole for a previous felony drug conviction, was arrested Oct. 15 in the area of 11th Street and 18th Avenue. At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of 21 bags of crack cocaine.
“Man sentenced to 32 years for December 2010 murder,” Oct. 11 — Thomas Stuen, 30, of Rockford, one of two charged in this case, previously faced a criminal misdemeanor drug charge in 2006 (dismissed), was charged with manufacturing and dealing cannabis in 2006 (dismissed), was charged with burglary in 2007 (guilty), and was charged with failure to return from furlough in 2009 (dismissed).
“Woman charged in July 18 murder of 63-year-old man on Sawyer Road,” Oct. 9 — Crystal Caldwell, 31, of Rockford, is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, robbery and residential burglary in the July 18 murder of 63-year-old James B. Schoenher. In 2001, Caldwell was charged with driving 26-30 mph above the speed limit (she has $130 in fines outstanding) and bad check/first offense ($195 in fines outstanding); and in 2007, she was charged with identity theft not exceeding $300 (dismissed).
“Man gets 22 years for November 2012 armed robbery of Kishwaukee Street Subway” — Douglas Marshall, 52, was sentenced to 22 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections Oct. 7 for the Nov. 2, 2012, armed robbery of the Subway restaurant at 1318 Kishwaukee St., Rockford. Marshall had pled guilty to the offense Aug. 16. Marshall was found guilty of robbery in 1990 and 1993; had a battery charge dismissed in 1994; had a misdemeanor retail theft (less than $150) dismissed in 1997; had a misdemeanor battery charge dismissed in 1997; was guilty of armed robbery, aggravated battery, resisting a police officer and possession of drug paraphernalia in 1998; was guilty of unlawful restraint in 2011; and was charged with fleeing/attempting to elude a police officer in 2011 (dismissed).
“Suspect, 18, in fatal Spring Creek crash now in jail on $1 million bond,” Oct. 4 — Dontrell D. Littleton, 18, of Rockford, the suspect in the fatal Sept. 29 crash on Spring Creek Road that took the life of local activist Dorothy J. Galloway, 65, and seriously injured her husband, Howard E. Riddle, is being held at the Winnebago County Justice Center on a $1 million bond. He faces the following charges: aggravated driving under the influence of drugs involving death (Class 2 felony), reckless homicide (Class 3 felony), two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs involving great bodily harm (Class 4 felony) and two counts of aggravated reckless driving (Class 4 felony). March 18, 2013, Littleton faced six felony drug (cannabis) charges; he was found guilty of only one, manufacturing/delivering 2.5-10 grams of cannabis. He owes the court $928 in fines.
“Alleged Waco street gang member arrested at Concord Commons, also suspect in June 23 shooting at Concord Commons,” Oct. 4 — Augustus E. Young, 31, was arrested Oct. 3 in an apartment in the 200 block of Cameron Avenue in the Concord Commons Housing Development. Young was wanted on the following warrants: unlawful use of weapons by a felon, aggravated battery to a senior citizen, two counts of domestic battery and parole violation. The unlawful use of weapons charge is a result of an investigation of shots being fired at security guards at Concord Commons June 23, and the domestic battery incident in which a gun was displayed, which also took place June 23 at Concord Commons. Young, known as “Gus” or “Lil Gus,” is an alleged member of the “Waco” gang, a violent criminal street gang in Rockford. In 2001, Young was found guilty of a felony cocaine charge; in 2004, he was found guilty of aggravated domestic battery; in 2006, he was found guilty of a felony cocaine charge; in 2008, he faced four felony domestic battery charges and two resisting a peace officer charges, and all charges were dismissed; in 2009, he faced four counts of criminal damage to property and two counts of aggravated fleeing police — he was found guilty of one count of aggravated fleeing with damage of less than $300 to property; in 2010, he faced three felony cocaine charges, and was found guilty on one charge. Dating back to 1999, online court records indicate Young owes $18,025.20 in fines.
“Man arrested in May on drug charges arrested again on drug charges while out on bond,” Sept. 20 — Sept. 20, the Rockford Police Department’s Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at 720 Oakley Ave. Inside the residence, detectives located a subject who they recognized from prior search warrants at the residence as Lynn Thomas, 48, of Rockford. Detectives also located an adult female, who was identified as Latosha Tate, 25, of Rockford, and a young child. During a search of the residence, detectives found three individually-wrapped pieces of suspected cocaine, cannabis, United States currency, as well as other items that are indicative of drug sales. Thomas and Tate were both cited for occupying a condemned residence, as 720 Oakley Ave. was condemned after a previous drug search warrant was executed. Thomas was out on bond for his arrest on May 23, when he was arrested at 720 Oakley Ave. and charged with possession with intent to deliver 15-100 grams of cocaine and possession of cannabis. He is now being held at Winnebago County Jail. Thomas is charged with possession with intent to deliver less than 1 gram of cocaine less than 1,000 feet of a park, possession of 2.5-10 grams of cannabis and occupying a condemned residence.
“Man on parole arrested for criminal trespass on Harlem Boulevard after fleeing police,” Sept. 10 — During the early-morning hours of Monday, Sept. 9, members of the Rockford Police Department M-3 Street Team were conducting a special operation in the area of the 1200 block Harlem Boulevard as a result of a recent increase in residential burglary activity in the area. Officers located a subject later identified as Arthur Contreras Jr., 40, of Rockford, in the area. Officers attempted to take Contreras into custody for a criminal trespass violation. Contreras fled on foot from officers. He was taken into custody after a brief foot pursuit. He has been charged with criminal trespass to property and resisting/obstructing a police officer. Contreras was on parole for aggravated battery.
When looking at these criminal pasts, it is very difficult to determine why these individuals were out on the streets to commit their most recent crimes.
Police officers — who put their lives on the line to serve and protect — often cannot even get their paperwork filed before criminals are back out on the street on bond. One officer said he often wonders exactly what it is he is accomplishing by arresting these individuals when they are right back out on the street the next day. The state’s attorney’s office needs to find a way to keep these criminals off the streets longer.
From the Nov. 13-19, 2013, issue