SAVOY, Illinois – A license-plate reader hit on Saturday led to the recovery of a stolen vehicle and the arrest of a Chicago man considered to be potentially dangerous.
At 5:09 p.m. Saturday, a University of Illinois Police officer received an alert from a local license-plate reader. The alert indicated that a stolen vehicle had just driven through the intersection of Curtis Road and Dunlap Avenue, Savoy. Upon searching the area, the officer found the vehicle parked at a nearby restaurant.
Statewide law enforcement records indicated that the vehicle had been stolen Jan. 1 at O’Hare International Airport and that Chicago Police had identified the suspect in that case as Desean C. Thomas, 27, of Chicago. Thomas also was wanted on an Iroquois County, Illinois, arrest warrant for failure to appear in court to answer a charge of driving on a suspended license.
A Chicago Police lieutenant warned University Police that Thomas is known to be armed and has a history of being involved in violent activity.
According to police records, the stolen vehicle had been used in the theft of a separate vehicle on Jan. 27 in Villa Park, Illinois, and it had fled from a traffic stop on at least one other occasion.
Because of that history, several University Police officers and Champaign County Sheriff’s Office deputies joined the vehicle stop in the restaurant parking lot. Officers entered the restaurant and found Thomas seated at a table.
Police arrested Thomas for possession of a stolen vehicle, and he was transported to the Champaign County Jail. The vehicle, a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with an estimated value of $90,000, was taken as evidence. Officers later determined that the VIN number displayed near the hood of the vehicle and on the inside of the door frame had been altered.
A second person seated at the restaurant with Thomas, identified as Kali J. Branchcomb, 23, of Champaign, was wanted on an Iroquois County, Illinois, arrest warrant for failure to appear in court to answer a charge of driving on a suspended license. She was issued a new notice to appear in court for that offense and released.