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ANONYMOUS TIP LEADS TO “MOST WANTED” FUGITIVE

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010— A Chicago woman who has been on the run since last year is now in the Cook County Jail, accused of violating terms of her probation since her conviction for attacking and robbing a 75-year-old woman in 2008, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Wednesday.

Debra HydeDebra Hyde, 40, will appear in court today to answer those charges. In August 2008, she was charged with robbery of a handicapped person or person over 60, aggravated battery, aggravated battery in a public place and unlawful restraint. In November 2008, she pleaded guilty to robbery of a person over 60 and was sentenced to six months in jail and two years of probation. In November 2009, she failed to comply with terms of her probation and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Last month, Hyde was among a new group of fugitives featured on Comcast’s “Police Blotter On Demand” program, which allows viewers to select an “On Demand” feature and learn about some of the Cook County Sheriff’s most wanted fugitives.

The program changes the featured fugitives every three months. Since the program began in December 2008, six episodes have aired and five fugitives have been captured as a result of viewers who recognized someone from the show, including a fugitive who was captured just last week.

“We started the ‘Most Wanted’ program because we knew it could be a great opportunity to increase the number of people who could safely assist us in getting dangerous people off the streets,” Dart said. “We weren’t sure how successful it might be, but it has easily exceeded our expectations. Now we’re looking at even more innovative ways to highlight our fugitives to make it even easier for the public to assist us in capturing them.”

Hyde was charged with assaulting a 75-year-old woman as she walked down the 4000 block of West 47th Street in Chicago in August 2008. Though the woman tried fighting her off, Hyde assaulted her and stole her coin purse until a witness ran over and intervened. Hyde was caught by Chicago police just a few blocks away.

Monday, an anonymous person contacted Cook County Sheriff’s officials, mentioned seeing the program and also said they knew where Hyde could be found.

Investigators confirmed that the address provided was an address where Hyde was known to frequent. Within hours of the tip coming in, sheriff’s fugitive investigators were conducting surveillance in the 5200 block of South Homan Avenue in Chicago, which is where they were told Hyde was staying.
Hyde was found sleeping in the living room of a house there. Though she initially denied her identity, claiming to be a sister of the fugitive, physical features and recognizable tattoos led investigators to take her into custody. Fingerprints later confirmed her identity.

On Tuesday, Hyde was ordered to be held without bond in the Cook County Jail. She will appear in court at 26th and California today on allegations she violated terms of her probation and fled.

Anyone with information about other wanted fugitives can see some of the most wanted on the sheriff’s website, www.cookcountysheriff.org or can contact the Cook County Sheriff’s fugitive unit at 708-865-4915.

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