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Carjacking charges dismissed against three arrested near Harvard

WOODSTOCK – Carjacking charges were dismissed for three people accused of taking a 2005 Chrysler 300 from a home near Harvard in May.

Genaro Pena, 35, of Harvard and Alex P. Gonzaque, 34, and Hayley Halpin, 38, of Walworth, Wisconsin, were arrested May 12 and charged with vehicular hijacking, which could have landed them four to 15 years in prison.

The hijacking charges, however, have since been dismissed and additional, less serious charges were filed in their stead, court records show. Both Halpin and Gonzaque pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses; however, Pena continues to plead not guilty on all charges.

Rather than serving as many as 15 years in prison, Halpin accepted a plea deal and was ordered to pay $375 in fines after pleading guilty Sept. 5 to violating the Collateral Recovery Act, court records show. The Collateral Recovery Act deals with repossession agencies, among other things.

Gonzaque also took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen vehicle. He was credited for 120 days served in the McHenry County Jail, sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay $1,572, court records show.

On Thursday, Gonzaque began the process to appeal his conviction, according to court documents. Representatives from the McHenry County Public Defender’s Office were not available to comment on details surrounding the appeal.

Still facing felony charges, Pena has pleaded not guilty to possession of a stolen vehicle, criminal trespass to vehicles and violating the Collateral Recovery Act, court records show.

McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies responded May 12 to the 7800 block of Graf Road for a reported vehicle theft at a home near Harvard. Deputies were told that Pena, Gonzaque and Halpin told the owner of the Chrysler that they were going to take the vehicle, according to a news release at the time from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

In a June 21 letter to a McHenry County judge, Halpin wrote that the situation was “a big misunderstanding.”

Pena’s next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 13.

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