Firearms Owners Against Crime

Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action

Illinois Self-Defense: Car thieves' heroin-fueled joy ride comes to screeching halt with the help of 2 armed homeowners :: 01/31/2024

One Illinois suspect accused of stealing a car and crashing it in a field was released from police custody under the state's Pretrial Fairness Act

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Two Illinois suspects accused of stealing a car before leading police on a chase were apprehended when two separate armed homeowners confronted the men and held them at gunpoint until deputies arrived, a local sheriff’s office says. 

The Macon County Sheriff’s Office said that on Jan. 23, law enforcement arrested suspects James Snow, 34, and Tyler Crum, 33, after a wild police chase that ended successfully with the help of two different armed homeowners. Crum was released shortly following his arrest due to a new and controversial Illinois law that ended cash bail, meaning judges do not require suspects charged with crimes to post bail in order to leave jail while they await trial. The law does not apply to suspects who are likely to pose a threat to the public. 

The sheriff’s office said that just before 5:30 p.m. last Tuesday, deputies responded to Casey’s General Store in Argenta over the report of a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot. Deputies found the car was previously reported stolen to the Decatur Police Department, and they confronted the two suspects in the car. 

Crum, who was driving the vehicle according to his post-arrest comments to authorities, fled the officers, hitting the police vehicle with the stolen car while trying to make a speedy exit, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies attempted to pursue the suspects but lost sight of them. 

Other law enforcement agencies joined the search for the duo, including the Maroa Police Department, which located the stolen car wrecked in a farmer’s field. Crum and Snow were not in the car by the time police found it, with the Oreana Police Department, Illinois State Police and the Illinois Conservation Police joining the search for the men. 

That was when the two armed homeowners stepped in, the sheriff’s office explained. The men had taken off in an attempt to find refuge in a local home. 

"Deputies received a report that the males were outside a nearby residence seeking refuge but were met by the homeowner armed with a firearm. One of the males was apprehended & taken into custody by law enforcement at this location," the sheriff’s office press release, which was provided to Fox News Digital, states. 

The second suspect fled the first home and met a similar fate. Another homeowner in the area also held him at gunpoint, earning praise from the sheriff’s office "for properly utilizing firearm training and assisting Law Enforcement."

"The other male had fled to another nearby residence before being met by that homeowner. The second suspect was intercepted by the homeowner armed with a firearm. The vigilant homeowner effectively held the offender at gunpoint, promptly calling 911. This male was also apprehended & taken into custody by law enforcement at the second location. We commend the homeowner for properly utilizing firearm training and assisting Law Enforcement," the sheriff’s office said. 

A police report provided to Fox News Digital shows that Crum admitted to authorities that prior to the police chase and arrests, he and Snow had done heroin in an Arby’s bathroom in Decatur, which is about 15 miles from Argenta.

Crum told police that after the pair took heroin, they stole a black Chevy Malibu that was idling in the parking lot. They intended to drive to Crum's hometown of Heyworth, according to the police report, but they got lost along the way and pulled over into the general store’s parking lot where the Macon Sheriff’s deputies first spotted them.

Crum said Snow, who was in the car’s passenger seat during the incident, told him to "just go dude" when they first saw law enforcement vehicles, resulting in them slamming into a sheriff’s car before taking off and crashing into the farm field. 

Snow also told police he was the passenger of the vehicle during the string of crimes, and that he had no memory of the car crashing in the field or going to homes in the area seeking refuge, according to the police report. 

Crum was charged with aggravated battery to a peace officer, aggravated fleeing & eluding, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and resisting/obstructing a peace officer. He was released under Illinois’ controversial Pretrial Fairness Act, which is part of the SAFE-T Act, that eliminated cash bail. He was given a notice to appear for the charges. 

Snow was charged with aggravated fleeing & eluding, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and resisting/obstructing a peace officer. He remains in police custody due to an outstanding parole violation warrant.

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