Habitual Car Thief Recently Released From DOC Arrested After Multi-County Crime Spree

Earlier this morning, Kankakee County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted the Illinois State Police and the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office with the apprehension and arrest of 21 year-old, Zachary M. Palmer, of Wilmington, IL.  Palmer, who was recently paroled (on June 2, 2021) after serving time for multiple Motor Vehicle Thefts, is suspected (and subsequently being charged with) stealing three vehicles within a 24-hour period.  It should be noted that Palmer had only been in custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections since April 21, 2021 after violating his parole status. 

Deputies were initially called this morning by OnStar in regards to a stolen motor vehicle that was being tracked off of IL Rt. 113. Upon arrival, deputies located the vehicle in front of a residence and determined that a vehicle was missing from another nearby residence.  Shortly thereafter, Grundy County deputies located the vehicle and were involved in a pursuit.  The pursuit ended as Palmer struck head-on with a school bus (which was not occupied by children at the time, as well as multiple other vehicles and side-swiping a Grundy County Sheriff’s cruiser as Palmer attempted to flee the scene.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that the IL Dept. of Corrections, despite being contacted about a parolee who has obviously been wreaking havoc, was reluctant to violate his parole status until several local agencies were forced into making phone calls,” said Sheriff Mike Downey.  “This particular individual has proven his intentions time and time again to blatantly disregard the laws and to show disregard for anyone else’s safety or personal property in violating our laws.  I commend our deputies, as well as the Tri-County Auto Theft Task Force, the IL State Police, the Will County Sheriff’s Office, the Braidwood Police Department and the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office for all of their efforts in removing this subject from our streets.  We are all hoping the Criminal Justice System can now do its job and ultimately serve justice to all of the area residents and motorists that have become victim to Palmer’s lawless acts.”

“We want to send a reminder to our area residents that criminals, such as Palmer, prey on crimes of opportunity.  Of the numerous motor vehicle thefts that he is suspected in, all have been left unlocked with the keys readily available.  We continue to urge the community to assist us by simply securing your vehicles and removing valuables from plain view,” said Sheriff Downey.

Palmer is currently incarcerated at the Jerome Combs Detention Center where he has been booked for 3 counts of Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Felony Theft, a warrant out of Iroquois County and an IL Dept. of Corrections Warrant.  Additional charges are likely as Palmer is suspected of numerous Motor Vehicle Thefts throughout Kankakee, Will and Grundy Counties in the last several weeks.

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