He walked into the store in an almost-complete Chicago police uniform and, like a seasoned shopper, began pointing out a variety of new items he needed. He asked for a police sweater, shirt and belt, quickly racking up a pile of clothing. When the saleswoman asked him for the required police identification, he said he’d get it from his car but didn’t return.
Three days later–last Saturday–the same individual came back to AJ Uniform and again asked for a laundry list of items. This time, the store was crowded with customers, and he told employees he was going to go to lunch before coming back to buy what he picked out. Soon after he left, the store’s owner noticed a novelty star the shopper had been eyeing in a display case was missing. And the real Chicago police name tag that hung on a store mannequin was gone too.
“I said to the guy who was waiting on him, ‘He just stole one of the badges,’ ” the store’s owner told the Chicago Tribune. She said she reported the theft to Chicago police. Within two hours of leaving her store, the shopper, a 14-year-old teen, walked into the Grand Crossing District and conned his way into a traffic cop’s car, spending the next five hours on duty, even driving a squad car, sources say. The teen, an 8th grader whom the Tribune has not identified because he is a juvenile, was caught after a supervisor noticed he wasn’t wearing a star or a gun. He produced the fake novelty badge when he was questioned. He was arrested and remains in juvenile custody. On Thursday, Police Supt. Jody Weis, returning from a Washington conference of police chiefs, called the incident “unforgivable . . . angering and disturbing.” Weis said the department is conducting a thorough investigation of what happened and had even asked the U.S. Secret Service to help evaluate security.