CHICAGO (CBS) — A former city tow truck driver has been sentenced to nine years in prison for soliciting bribes from downtown sightseers whose cars he’d towed.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Flood sentenced Lennie Perry to nine years in the Illinois Department of Corrections followed by three years of supervised release, according to a statement from the Chicago Office of Inspector General. Perry was previously found guilty of two felony counts each of bribery and official misconduct.
In the late evening hours of Sept. 19, 2014, a driver who had parked near Columbus and Balbo returned from sightseeing to find that her vehicle had been towed, prosecutors said. She flagged down a nearby city tow truck and the driver, Perry, told her that her vehicle would be returned if she paid him $150.
When the victim told him she didn’t have the money, Perry directed her to his wife, Arica Reed-Perry, who was parked in a vehicle across the street, the OIG said. Reed-Perry drove the victim to an ATM and then dropped her off at her vehicle after receiving the $150.
The victim immediately reported the incident to police, who pulled over and arrested Reed-Perry a short time later, prosecutors said. She admitted to police that her husband had instructed her to drive the victim to the ATM and return her to her car after getting the money.
Further investigation revealed that Perry had pulled a similar scheme on two other occasions, soliciting payments of $100 and $150 from other drivers who had parked downtown while sightseeing, according to the OIG. He was later fired by the city and arrested.
Reed-Perry separately pleaded guilty to a felony count of theft for her role in the scheme, prosecutors said. She was sentenced to 24 months of second-chance probation and ordered to pay $150 in restitution.
Perry was transferred to the custody to the Illinois Department of Corrections on Thursday, according to IDOC records. It was not immediately clear when he would be eligible for parole.
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