CHICAGO — A Chicago man who allegedly shoplifted thousands of dollars in merchandise from a suburban Walgreens later tried to flee in a police car after freeing his hand from handcuffs during his arrest, authorities said today.
The man was thwarted in his attempt to steal the unmarked police car because the vehicle is equipped with an automatic kill switch that shuts the car down when it's placed in gear, Prospect Heights police said.
Authorities allege that the man, Syed Quadri, 21, of Chicago, shoplifted merchandise multiple times since February from a Walgreens at 1 N. Elmhurst Road in Prospects Heights and resold or traded the goods for narcotics.
During one of the alleged thefts, police said, an Audi A7 that had been left idling and unattended in the parking lot was stolen. Authorities said this car, whose plates were replaced with stolen plates, was used as a getaway vehicle in a number of related thefts in Lincolnwood, Mount Prospect and elsewhere in Prospect Heights. The car was in Quadri's possession, as was heroin, when he was arrested Tuesday on the 6000 block of Francisco Avenue, according to police.
It was while detectives were waiting for a tow for the Audi that Quadri allegedly freed one hand from his handcuffs, shifted into the front seat of the police car and shifted it into gear, police said.
Quadri is charged with retail theft, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a stolen vehicle and attempted vehicle theft, Prospect Heights police said.
According to police, Quadri admitted to participating in thefts from numerous Walgreens stores as part of an organized theft ring.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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