CHICAGO (CBS) — Electronic ankle monitoring bracelets keep criminals under close watch, but CBS 2 investigators found many criminals discovered a way to beat the system.
There are more than 2,700 people on electronic monitoring in Cook County, alone, not including the state or federal cases.
Sources told CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards that criminals are now able to hack the system to beat home monitoring. It is unclear how big the problem is, but it is happening.
Kentreal Brisco, 23, is a known ganger disciple. He was pulled over on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in front of Water Tower Place. According to a police report, he had a stolen phone and demanded $500. When officers searched the vehicle, they found an ankle home monitoring device belonging to the offender, plugged into the car charger. Brisco was on electronic monitoring for a charge of a firearm by a felon.
National Louis University Professor Dick Schak is a retired Chicago Police sergeant. He said if the electronic monitor is not foolproof, then it is extremely problematic.
It appears offenders are hacking and defeating the monitoring by plugging what is typically anchored at home into their car. It doesn’t sound alarms while driving because the offender is with the ankle bracelet.
“People that want to do wrong find new and unique ways to do wrong,” said Schak. “This is a new one to me.”
Regina Whitaker is a “four corner hustler,” according to documents. When she was pulled over, an officer observed what appeared to be an electronic monitoring device plugged into the cigarette lighter.
Whitaker apparently said she “unplugged her device from the home and drove around with it plugged into her vehicle.”
The officer asked if she “had ever [been] called once the device was removed.” She replied “no.”
The Illinois Department of Corrections did not answer any questions as to how it is being perpetrated.
Brisco was being monitored by them when he hacked it. CBS 2’s Brad Edwards went to his home to ask how he did it, but no one was home.
The Illinois Department of Corrections said, in a statement, “The IDOC is aware that individuals may attempt to tamper with electronic monitoring devices; therefore; the department does not rely solely on this technology.”
“This piece might show more people how to do this, but at the same time, it should stimulate the government to say ‘we’ve got to figure out a way to fix this,’” said Schak.
In one of the cases, the woman was charged with escape. She was being monitored by an arm of the county which is currently reviewing the issue of tampering with the devices.
Anyone with investigative news tips is asked to contact Brad Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org