Law and Order, Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Police: Man with Stolen Jeep Said Price He Paid was “a Steal.”

Autism-awareness squad car of the Park Forest Police Department. Man says stolen car was "a steal."
The autism-awareness squad car of the Park Forest Police Department. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A vehicle that a University Park man told police was “a steal” when he bought it actually turned out to be stolen, according to police. The vehicle had actually been reported stolen by the Pontiac Police Department, according to police. The University Park man was charged with two felonies.

Taje Fraizer, 25, 901 Cordoba Ct., University Park, was arrested on July 15 and charged with two felony counts related to a stolen Jeep allegedly in his possession, according to police.

An officer was on patrol on July 15 at 8:21 PM when he saw a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in a parking lot in Court H-4 and the 3400 block of Western Avenue. The Jeep was in a spot labeled for visitors. This officer from Park Forest had previously been assigned as a task force officer to the Illinois State-wide Auto Theft Task Force, a division of the Secretary of State Police, according to the report.

The officer conducted a registration inquiry and learned that the Jeep was registered to Taje Frazier. The report provided a specific vehicle identification number (VIN) for the Jeep, according to police.

The officer then obtained Carfax, ISO ClaimSearch, and National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) reports on the vehicle. These reports indicated that a Jeep with that VIN was “never manufactured,” according to police. Further, NMVTIS reported that the same VIN was never titled in the United States, according to police.

The officer then contacted the Police Inquiry Unit of the Illinois Secretary of State police regarding the title application and Mr. Frazier’s name. The officer learned that the title application was listed as being under administrative review, according to the report.

Another officer arrived on the scene to assist.

The first officer on the scene observed the public dashboard VIN and noted that it contained black lettering on a metal plate, which is inconsistent with the legitimate Jeep VIN plate, according to police. Based on the officer’s training, experience, and investigation, police concluded that the VIN appeared to be altered and the officer believed that the vehicle had been stolen and re-VINed, according to police.

Officers began to conduct a canvas to locate the owner. The first officer on the scene knocked on the door of a residence and a man, later identified as Mr. Frazier, answered and confirmed that he was the owner of the Jeep, saying that he purchased it from someone he met through a friend. The officer asked if Frazier had any purchase paperwork for the vehicle and Mr. Frazier related that he did not, according to police. Then, allegedly without the officer mentioning the VIN, Mr. Frazier asked if the VIN number was “not good,” according to police. The officer confirmed that there were inconsistencies with the VIN.

Mr. Frazier then related that had the Jeep for about a month and paid $50,000 cash for it, according to police. Mr. Frazier retrieved the keys for the Jeep and gave them to the officer to access the Jeep, according to police. As Mr. Frazier obtained his driver’s license and registration card from the vehicle, he again mentioned the vehicle’s VIN and asked the officer what was wrong with it, according to police. The officer told Mr. Frazier that there were inconsistencies with law enforcement checks that were being conducted, according to police.

Mr. Frazier then asked how long the officer had been looking into the vehicle and if “the state” sent him, according to police. The officer responded that the state had not sent him.

During a subsequent inspection, the officer learned that the VIN was false and that the Jeep’s true VIN had been “concealed and replaced,” according to police. The officer located the secondary VIN and confirmed the true VIN of the Jeep, which had been reported stolen by the Pontiac Police Department on June 1, 2021, according to police.

The officer then arrested Mr. Frazier, according to the report.

During an interview at the Park Forest Police Department, Street Frazier told the officer that he bought the vehicle from a man named “Jab,” who is also known as “Man Man,” according to police. Mr. Frazier said he had been introduced to Jab by a college friend from Michigan. Frazier met Jab in Sauk Village and purchased the Jeep for $50,000, according to police.

Mr. Frazier told the officer that he knew the Jeep was worth approximately $80,000 and thought the price was “a steal,” according to the report. Police and the Cook County State’s Attorney apparently agreed as Mr. Frazier was charged with aggravated possession of a stolen motor vehicle and filing an altered/forged/counterfeit title, both felony counts.

About Police Reports

Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those police arrested and charged committed any offenses. We report on what is in the reports that the police furnish to us. As those accused are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.

eNews Park Forest has continuously published the addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.

Presumption of Innocence

An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. The law presumes all those whom police arrest are innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest not to remove items from the public record from publication. Suppose you find your name in the police reports. Our policy is that we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g., “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.

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Police captured all the incidents in this report on body-worn and dash-mounted cameras by officers at the respective scenes, according to police. All Park Forest police officers wear body-worn cameras. Officials typically abbreviate these devices as BWC in the reports.

We encourage persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters, including narcotics or gang activity, to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.