A 20-year-old LaGrange Park man has been charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking after allegedly posing as someone who wanted to buy a van advertised for sale online and then stealing the vehicle from its owner at gunpoint in a Riverside forest preserve on March 9 at about 12:35 p.m.
David Herman Jr. remains in custody at Cook County Jail on $150,000 bond, awaiting a March 31 hearing at the Maybrook courthouse in Maywood.
He was arrested after reportedly crashing the Ford F205 van on the side of Interstate 80 during the early morning hours of March 10. An Illinois State Police trooper reportedly observed the crashed vehicle at about 12:40 a.m., identified it as stolen and arrested Herman before turning him over to Cook County Sheriff’s Police.
According to Riverside police, who were the first to respond to the initial 911 call, the victim, a 31-year-old Justice man, said he had listed his full-size maroon Ford F250 Econoline van for sale on the website Craigslist. A man responded to the ad and met the victim at an unspecified location in McCook.
The victim told police that the offender, later identified as Herman, asked to test drive the van on the way to a bank to get money to pay for it. Herman reportedly got behind the wheel and the victim sat in the passenger seat. As the two drove along First Avenue in Riverside, Herman reportedly turned into the south entrance of the Zoo Woods, which is between Forest Avenue and 31st Street, saying he wanted to check the van’s engine.
After Herman popped the hood, both men got out of the van and walked to the front of the vehicle to look at the engine. They then closed the hood and reentered the van, at which time Herman allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the victim, who exited the van and ran into the woods. The van was last seen exiting the forest preserve.
According to police, the victim informed them that the license plates on the van did not belong to the vehicle. Rather, the plates were registered to a 2008 Ford Escape.