Evanston man charged with car theft

Sophia Bollag, City Editor

An Evanston man has been charged with stealing a woman’s car Monday afternoon after pulling her from the vehicle, police said.

Reneil R. Downer, 19, of the 1300 block of Ashland Avenue, was charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking and aggravated battery, police said. He was also charged with attempted possession of a stolen motor vehicle for trying to steal a different car earlier in the day. All the charges are felonies.

Shortly after noon on Monday, Downer approached a car parked in an alley in the 600 block of Sheridan Road, police said. The driver of the car, a 69-year-old Chicago woman, had the keys in the ignition when Downer opened the door and threatened her, implying he had a weapon, police said. He then pulled her from the vehicle and drove away.

Police found the car in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Downer struck two cars and then fled on foot before being found hiding under a stairwell in the 400 block of Keeney Street in Evanston, police said. No injuries were reported during the chase, police said.

Earlier Monday, Downer had attempted to steal another vehicle near the intersection of Lee Street and Forest Avenue, police said.

Downer, who was on parole when the incidents occurred, is scheduled to appear in court June 11.

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