Members of a rental car fraud ring busted last month at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were linked to a wild shooting spree in Chicago that injured five people about two weeks after they were released from jail in Texas, according to court documents.
On Sept. 9 at about 11 p.m., a rental car company at DFW Airport notified police that a man was trying to rent a car with a fake driver’s license. Officers arrested William Wilson and four others who were all from Chicago and staying in a Dallas hotel, police said.
The suspects bonded out of jail a few days later but police kept their cell phones as evidence. The fraud investigation and its connection to five shootings in Chicago was detailed by a DFW Airport Police detective in search warrants obtained to access the cellular devices.
Soon after the suspects were released from the Tarrant County Jail, a rental agency reported three more cars stolen, according to the warrant. All three were later recovered in the Chicago area, police said.
On Sept. 27, police learned the same group stole yet another car, a 2021 Audi, and it was entered into a national law enforcement database as stolen. On Sept. 29, the same Audi was involved in the shooting spree in Chicago, police said.
Five people were shot in the Fulton River District by two men hanging out the back windows of the stolen Audi as they were chasing another car during evening rush hour. Four innocent bystanders, including a passenger in a ride-share, were hit. A suspect also was believed injured.
The suspects arrested at the airport were identified as Wilson, 30; Takiera Stephens, 27; Deandre Singleton, 28; Demetrius White, 25; and Martel Clay, 24.
They were booked on various charges including fraud, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and engaging in organized crime.
Wilson also was charged with possession of a controlled substance after police said they found “THC infused” substances including “white cherry gelato” and “chuckles peach rings” in his suitcase.
After the arrests, one of the suspects admitted during questioning he was in Texas to help transport as many as 10-15 fraudulently-rented vehicles back to Chicago where they would be sold, the detective wrote in the warrant.
Wilson claimed he communicated with “Zoe God” through an encrypted cell phone app. The airport detective identified Zoe God as a “fraud kingpin to several organized crime groups.”
Wilson claimed he was “one of the leaders” of Zoe God based on his “vast experiences with several other fraud schemes,” the detective said.
“It was evident in the interview Wilson was well-versed with evolving fraud schemes,” the investigator said.
Police helped rental agencies recover at least 10 cars stolen by the group, according to the warrant.
A Chicago police spokeswoman said Monday there are no updates on the shooting investigation and no arrests have been made.