Zion woman sentenced to year in prison for looting Waukegan gas station
Despite recommendations for probation by both defense and prosecution attorneys, a Lake County judge sentenced a 22-year-old Zion woman to a year in prison Thursday for her part in the looting that followed protests about George Floyd's death.
Victoria Lewis pleaded guilty to looting the Citgo gas station in Waukegan. She was one of at least 15 people arrested during the unrest on May 31.
Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes spoke at length about how he believed Lewis' actions made her part of a mob that can "destroy the peaceful and happy fabric of society."
"To be clear, I am not holding you responsible for the mob," Shanes told Lewis. "But without people doing what you did, the mob could not and would not exist."
Assistant State's Attorney Lauren Kalcheim-Rothenberg recommended that Lewis be sentenced to one year of probation. She said she took into account that Lewis had no previous criminal history.
Lewis will get credit for the 160 days she has served in jail while awaiting trial,
The looting and vandalism followed a peaceful protest march against police brutality after Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. One police officer has been charged with his murder, and three others have been charged with aiding and abetting.
In the Waukegan area, officers responded to about 50 business lootings, with some stores being looted more than once.
Lewis and two others were arrested at the Citgo late on May 31. Surveillance video played at the hearing showed Lewis and several other people filling garbage bags with merchandise from the gas station's convenience store.
Park Ridge police officer Robert Evans, who was at the scene as part of the regional Mobile Field Force, testified at Thursday's hearing that Lewis was polite to officers when they arrested her. Because the officers were needed to help elsewhere, Evans took Lewis' picture and told her to turn herself in to Waukegan police, which she did.
Damages to the Citgo were estimated at $45,000. The owner's deductible was $1,000, which the judge ordered Lewis to pay.
"You are remarkably young," Shanes told Lewis. "I hope your choices in the future are better than you have made in the past."