A Chicago woman was accused of stealing a suburban training college admissions counselor's car after visiting for an admissions interview and test last month, "because she didn't have a ride home," prosecutors said.
Mary Davila-Velasquez, 23, of the 1600 block of North Humboldt Boulevard, was arrested following a traffic stop Sunday night after police determined the car she was driving had been reported stolen, according to court records.
Davila-Velasquez initially told police officers she was borrowing the car from a friend, but after being brought to a police station she told them she had actually stolen the car after visiting Northwestern College in Bridgeview to meet with an admissions counselor on March 27, according to a police report.
Northwestern College is not affiliated with Northwestern University, and runs pre-professional training programs that prepare students for jobs such as paralegal, medical assistant and radiography technicial, according to its website.
Davila-Velasquez told police she was far from home after the meeting and needed a ride, so she took the keys from the counselor's office and walked around the parking area clicking the electronic key until a car responded.
The car's owner, April Branklyn, of south suburban Burnham, said she was shocked to leave work at the end of the day to discover her car was missing, along with her car keys and house keys, she said.
"It was something you would never expect. It just hurt me to my heart that she, a young woman would do something like that," she said. "She didn't do that great on her exam, and she gave me an unusual hug, and I didn't know if it was because she just didn't do well on the test, but my heart went out to her."
Branklyn said she had given up hope that her car would be found when it didn't turn up in the weeks after it disappeared. When police contacted her Sunday night to tell her they found the car, she said she suspected it was Davila-Velasquez from the way she hugged her goodbye.
Davila-Velasquez was arraigned at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse Monday afternoon and released on a signature bond with electronic home monitoring required.
Davila-Velasquez allegedly told police officers that she took the car to drive back to her Humboldt Park home, and was later "afraid" to return the car.
"I'm so sorry that she did it," Branklyn said in an interview. "And if she needed a ride home, all she had to do was ask."
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