Rockford man charged in DeKalb, Winnebago, Cook counties accused of burglary, stalking, car theft (2022)

SYCAMORE – A Rockford man is facing charges in three northern Illinois counties, according to court records, and is accused of stalking a woman and leading DeKalb police on a high-speed chase in a stolen car.

Earnell R. Brown III, 36, of the 600 block of North Second Street in Rockford also is facing new charges on allegations that he recently broke into a government-owned building on Fourth Street and stole six Apple laptops and other pieces of technology.

The alleged burglary was reported at 217 S. Fourth St., the same city of DeKalb-owned building that houses offices for the Sir Donald Foundation. Brown founded and worked as executive director for the area nonprofit, tasked with advocating for those recently released from prison.

Brown has been in police custody at the DeKalb County Jail since his arrest June 22 and appeared before DeKalb County judges for multiple hearings on his charges, at one point telling authorities that he suffered from substance abuse issues. Brown is accused of engaging in a slew of criminal behavior, at times targeting a DeKalb woman across several weeks in June.

Throughout his court proceedings, Brown’s attorneys in the Public Defender’s Office have pointed to his former service in the greater DeKalb County area.

“I have had prior contact with Mr. Brown in which he had contact with the local community and was part of an organization that was assisting people who were in need of services getting to court,” Public Defender Robert Carlson said during a bond hearing June 23. “So in the recent past, Mr. Brown has been a good citizen.”

Questions also arose over Brown’s professional affiliations in the nonprofit sector before his arrest, Public Defender Michelle Dietrich has said in court proceedings.

“Clearly there’s quite a bit of information that the prosecutor’s office would have about Mr. Brown and personal interactions he’s had with them as part of his actions in the community,” Dietrich said June 30.

Dietrich did not respond to additional requests for comment. In a June 23 bond hearing, Brown told prosecutors many charges against him were “unfounded” and “absolutely untrue.”

On the new DeKalb case, Brown is charged with burglary and criminal damage to government property. He appeared from the DeKalb County Jail Thursday for a bond hearing in front of 23rd Circuit Court Judge Marcy Buick, although no bond was set in the case. Instead, Buick continued bond rulings until 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Public Defender Chip Criswell told Buick that his office was seeking a stay on Brown’s court proceedings so that he can enter a substance abuse treatment facility in St. Charles. Prosecutors said Thursday they would object to that proposal.

According to DeKalb County court records, Brown’s latest charges stem from a June 14 incident during which he’s accused of burglarizing a government-owned building and stealing technology from offices inside. DeKalb police responded to a report of a burglary at 217 S. Fourth St. on June 14, later learning that someone had damaged an exterior window to enter.

A piece of the window was missing from the scene, according to records, and a person of interest – later identified by DeKalb police as Brown – also allegedly damaged two office doors inside. One of the damaged doors belonged to Brown’s office where he had worked at the foundation, and another belonged to a woman’s office, according to records.

The woman reportedly told police that her keys, a small camera and six Apple laptops were taken from her desk, noting that the laptops had been donated to her nonprofit by Meta, Facebook’s parent company, records show.

DeKalb police investigators learned that Brown had recently sold seven Apple laptops to pawn shops in Aurora, records allege. Police recovered the laptops and noted that one of them reportedly had a faded “Hello Kitty” image on it, matching the description of one of the stolen laptops in the DeKalb office.

A week after the alleged burglary, Brown is accused of being involved in a pursuit and car crash, which led to his arrest, records state. When police searched the car he was driving, they found another laptop from Meta and a piece of the missing building window, records state. Brown allegedly admitted to selling the computers but not burglarizing the building.

“He could not explain why the broken piece of the window was in his vehicle,” court records state. “saying that he had been using drugs and did not remember the last several days.”

Charges in other counties

In DeKalb County, Brown is charged with unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated fleeing police over 21 mph, reckless driving, speeding 35 over the limit, disregarding an official traffic device, improper passing on the left and disregarding a stop sign. The charges stem from a June 22 morning incident during which Brown is accused of driving a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox eastbound on West Hillcrest Drive. The car was reported stolen the day prior out of Rockford, according to DeKalb County court records.

Records allege Brown refused DeKalb police officers’ verbal, audible and visible attempts to stop the car in the 1300 block of South Annie Glidden Road. Brown allegedly attempted to flee in the car by driving 110 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Police later arrested Brown in the 19000 block of Willrett Road in Malta.

DeKalb County Judge Joseph Voiland set Brown’s bond for the driving incident charges at $250,000 on June 23.

Brown is also charged in DeKalb County with harassment through electronic communications.

Around 1:37 a.m. June 12, a DeKalb woman told police Brown allegedly drove by a parking lot in the 1100 block of Varsity Boulevard, made a comment about a man she was with, and then continued to text her. In one of the texts, the woman reported an all-black video was sent to her and a gunshot could be heard.

Around 5:11 p.m. June 12, the DeKalb woman met with police officers and told them Brown had allegedly called her to tell her that her car was on fire. When she went out to her car 15 minutes later, a witness told the woman Brown had allegedly set a fire to the rear passenger side wheel of her car, but put it out using a garbage can full of water.

Brown is also accused of harassing the women via telephone on June 14, kicking in her apartment door, and telling her over the phone that he was going to shoot her in the face, records allege. Brown later allegedly lead DeKalb police on another high speed car chase during which he’s accused of calling her and threatening her life.

In Winnebago County, Brown is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, criminal damage to property, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and endangering a child. According to court records, Brown is accused of ramming his vehicle into the DeKalb woman’s car while children were inside her vehicle. He’s also accused of pointing a handgun at the woman. Brown was given a $500,000 bond by a Winnebago County judge, according to court records.

“Based on the reported acts of violence committed against [DeKalb woman], the fact that the defendant has made threats to [the woman] via electronic communication, that the defendant has repeatedly surveilled the area where [the woman] resides, the State believes bail poses a real and present threat to the physical safety of [the woman],” prosecutors wrote in court documents.

A warrant was issued for Brown for misdemeanor domestic battery charges out of Cook County on June 13, records show. The victim, the same DeKalb woman, reportedly told police June 12 that she was in a car with Brown in Chicago on June 6 when he battered her and threatened her with a gun. Police reported the woman had visible injuries to her right eye, which she alleged was from the incident, records state.

In a separate incident in DeKalb on April 12, Brown is also accused of slashing the DeKalb woman’s car tires in the parking lot where she lives. Police said he allegedly admitted to slashing the tires, records state.

Brown is expected to appear in front of Buick on all his DeKalb County charges Wednesday. Brown pleaded not guilty to his DeKalb County charges, excluding the burglary incident, June 14.

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