said a convicted coke dealer caught stealing a pair of women's sunglasses turned out to be packing heat—and crack.
The accused thief, 23-year-old Andrew Miles, had been released from prison less than nine months before his most recent arrest on Saturday in the parking lot of the Kmart at 1801 W. Jefferson St.
A patrol officer already at the Kmart for a report of an unrelated theft was alerted to a man leaving the store with a pair of stolen women's sunglasses about 3 p.m., police said. That man was Miles, and the officer followed him as he got into a green Oldsmobile Alero, according to reports.
Police said the officer pulled the car over before it could leave the parking lot and placed Miles under arrest on a charge of retail theft. The officer spotted a joint on the car's front seat, police said. The officer then searched Miles' body and reportedly discovered he was carrying 20 crack rocks, according to reports.
A search of the Oldsmobile turned up a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson under the driver's seat, and there was also a black ski mask in the car, police said.
Miles was paroled in August after serving a year and a month in prison for the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance. The conviction stemmed from a June 2008 Joliet police sting of Evergreen Terrance drug dealers.
Miles remains jailed in lieu of $200,000 bond. He was charged with armed violence, possession of a controlled substance, retail theft, possession of marijuana, unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a firearm without an owner's identification card, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful possession of ammunition by a felon.