As a Delavan teenager, Logan Darling’s legal troubles amounted to minor traffic tickets until one night last February, when he allegedly committed more than three dozen car burglaries and other felonies in two Tazewell County communities.
Darling, 18, was sentenced to five years in prison Monday when he pleaded guilty to four of the crimes.
He told his judge that nothing motivated his crime spree, committed with a 16-year-old girl, beyond his own foolishness.
Darling pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicle burglary and one each of possessing a stolen vehicle and a stolen credit card. Three other charges, including one of residential burglary, were dismissed in his plea agreement.
It also gives Darling the chance for freedom within a year if he’s accepted into and passes the state prison system’s Impact Incarceration Program, which will submit him to military boot camp-like demands over about six months.
Darling and the girl’s crime spree began late Feb. 19 in Morton and ended at 8 a.m. with their capture in Minier. Over those hours they broke into 35 vehicles, stole two of them, burglarized a home’s garage and fled from police in a high-speed chase, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit.
After receiving the report of a stolen pickup shortly after midnight in Morton, a police officer spotted the vehicle at the Morton Travel Center gas pumps. A clerk there told police by phone that a young man and girl were at the counter trying to buy gas with a credit card.
Growing suspicious with the phone call, Darling and the girl ran back to the pickup and raced away as police tried to close in. After the couple veered around a patrol car positioned to block their escape, officers gave up the ensuing high-speed chase for safety concerns.
By then, Darling had already burglarized 20 unlocked vehicles in Morton, he later told police. As well as a home’s garage, Darling later entered 15 more vehicles in Minier, where the couple fled, he said.
A woman in that town saw him open one vehicle. She discovered gift cards stolen from her own vehicle and called the police. The village police chief spotted Darling, who began throwing gift cards to the ground during a brief foot chase that ended when he found Darling hiding under a parked vehicle.
The girl, who had been reported as a runaway, was found sleeping nearby in a second pickup truck the two allegedly stole before fleeing Morton.
She was referred for prosecution in Tazewell County Juvenile Court.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin