Chicago man gets prison time for smash-and-grab crime spree

Published 2:50 pm Monday, October 10, 2022

NILES – A Chicago man who went on a smash and grab crime spree through southern Berrien County is going to prison. He was among several people sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court in Niles. 

Maleik Johnson, 26, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering a building to commit larceny, carrying a concealed weapon and fleeing and eluding police and was sentenced to concurrent prison terms. He must pay a total of $198 in fines and costs and $8,142.12 in restitution. 

He received a term of five years to 10 years in prison for breaking and entering, 20 months to five years in prison for carrying a concealed weapon and 20 months to five years in prison for fleeing and eluding.  

He has credit for no time served as he was on parole at the time of the incident. The sentences are also consecutive to any sentence he receives for violating his parole in Michigan or any other state. He also has pending charges in Indiana. 

The incident occurred June 1 in the Buchanan and Galien areas. He and another person broke into gas stations in both communities to steal items. They then fled from police and were found with the concealed weapon when they were stopped. 

Assistant Prosecutor Kate Arnold said she believed prison sentences were warranted due to the dangerousness and severity of the crimes committed. 

“I take full responsibility for what I did,” Johnson said. “I’m not a bad person but I made some bad decisions. I want to be a better person when I get out.” 

“I hope what you say is true,” Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock said. “The proof will be in the pudding. I have an obligation to sentence you for your behavior and based on your record.”