Eye in the Sky Tracks Down Man on the Fly
Chicago police chopper helps track a speeding Armada in Oak Lawn car chase. When stopped, accused thief's mom comes to the rescue.
Oak Lawn police, with some assistance from a Chicago Police Department helicopter, nabbed a man they said was fleeing in a car he had stolen from Kelly Nissan.
Armando J. Piemonte, 40, of the 10100 block of South Springfield in Chicago, was charged with one count of felony possession of a stolen car and driving on a revoked license.
According to police reports, Piemonte walked into Kelly Nissan, 4300 W. 95th St., around 1:35 p.m. April 21, expressing interest in a 2006 Nissan Armada. Sales associates described Piemonte as wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jacket. A female sales associate drove the Armada to the front of the dealership.
When she asked to see Piemonte’s driver’s license before she let him take the SUV for a test drive, Piemonte told her that he had given his license to someone inside the dealership, reports said.
The sales associate told police she advised Piemonte that she wanted to ensure that he was telling the truth. Before she could verify his story, Piemonte entered the running SUV and took off, reports said. The sales associate said she did not give Piemonte permission to take the SUV for a test drive.
Oak Lawn police received a radio call with a description of the car and driver while en route to the Nissan dealership. The pilot of a Chicago Police Department helicopter radioed Oak Lawn police and said they had the SUV within view.
The chopper kept track of the SUV’s movements, which was speeding southbound on Pulaski from 95th Street, reports said. The pilot continued to provide Oak Lawn police with the SUV’s location and activated the chopper’s audio and video systems.
Oak Lawn police finally caught up with the driver on the 3300 block of 115th Street after the pilot of the police helicopter told them the driver had parked the SUV and entered another car, reports said.
Piemonte and a woman were inside a Chicago police squad car and both were brought back to the car dealership for identification.
Sales associates positively identified Piemonte, police said. After interviewing the woman who had picked up Piemonte on 115th Street, police released her upon determining she had no knowledge that Piemonte was driving a stolen vehicle, reports said.
While en route to the Oak Lawn police station, Piemonte told police that he had thrown the Armada’s ignition key along 115th Street. Police were able to find the key, reports said.
According to police, Piemonte told them that the sales associate said it was OK to take the Armada for test drive. He said he became concerned when he saw the police helicopter because he was driving on a revoked license and believed that was the reason why he was being chased.
Piemonte said he called his mother on his cell phone and told her to pick him up on Central Park Avenue. When his mother arrived, he got into her car, reports said.
Police said Piemonte refused to discuss the matter further without an attorney present.
Piemonte was held overnight until the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office could view video taken by the helicopter pilot. After viewing the video, charges were filed on April 22.
Piemonte appeared in court the next day.