The man described by police as the ring leader of a reckless trio charged in connection with a handful of armed robberies is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond after appearing in circuit court on Jan. 16. Local police have filed 23 criminal complaints against Aaron Johnson, of Chicago, along with a handful of traffic violations for his alleged role in a string of robberies in which taxi cab drivers were targeted.
Johnson, 22, was arrested during the early morning hours of Jan. 14 after a team of officers who were conducting surveillance on the Desplaines Avenue el station watched the suspect attempt another heist, according to Detective Sgt. Michael Keating. Officers from both the detective and patrol units were assigned to the case following reports that at least four cab drivers were robbed at gunpoint there between Nov. 21 and Jan. 8.
Also swept up in the bust were Cordaro Little, 19, and 17-year-old Larry Connic, both are also from Chicago.
“We just knew they were coming back,” Keating said. “It was just a matter of being patient and waiting for them to come back.”
Little is facing four counts of unlawful use of a weapon in addition to one count each of armed robbery, theft, resisting arrest and robbery. His bond was set at $250,000, according to Keating. Connic, the youngest of the group, is facing three counts of unlawful use of a weapon and a single charge for disobeying a police officer. Bond was set at $100,000.
Both Johnson and Little were on parole for other felonies, according to Keating, and all three have “extensive criminal histories” that include previous arrests for armed robbery and carjacking.
“These guys were kind of a three man wrecking crew,” Keating said.
Of the nearly 40 charges filed against the trio, the bulk of the complaints were aimed at Johnson. Five counts of armed robbery, four for unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of resisting arrest and one count of aggravated vehicular hijacking are among the more serious charges against him. The vehicular hijacking charge stems from a December incident in which Johnson allegedly stole a car from a customer at a Harlem Avenue gas station.
A .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun recovered from the suspects’ getaway car, police said, was tossed there after Johnson realized the police were moving in on him. According to a statement Johnson allegedly made while in custody, he was carrying the weapon in his pocket when he approached the cab driver moments before his arrest.
From several posts outside of the station at 711 Desplaines Ave., authorities watched as Johnson, Little and Connic pulled in behind a cab waiting in line for the next fare. With a match on the description of the beige Oldsmobile and a partial license plate number, police moved in, prompting the suspects to jump back in the car and flee. Officers boxed the vehicle in and were led on a brief foot chase before all three suspects were in custody.
Charges filed last month against a juvenile suspected in the heists have been dropped, according to police.