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Police say a 19-year-old Evanston man who allegedly pulled a 69-year-old woman out of her car and drove off with it now has been charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking.

Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott says the incident started about 12:25 p.m. Monday when the Chicago woman was sitting in her car parked in an alley in the 600 block of Sheridan Road with the keys in the ignition.

Parrott says Reneil R. Downer opened the car door, threatened the woman, implied he had a weapon, pulled her out of the car and then hopped in and drove off.

Parrott says the car was spotted a short time later driving the stolen car in Rogers Park, and that Downer then drove back into Evanston fled on foot after hitting two cars. Parrott says police found him hiding under a rear stairwell in the 400 block of Keeney Street.

Parrott says the victim identifed Downer as the man who’d stolen her car, and that, after police learned he’d tried to take another vehicle earlier in the day in the area of Lee Street and Forest Avenue, he was also charged with attempted auto theft.

Police says Downer, of 1312 Ashland Ave., was on parole from the Illinois Department of Corrections at the time of his arrest. 

He’s scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. June 11 in Skokie district court.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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