Tuesday, September 16, 2014

HOT WATER: Former Wrigleyville Bartender "Arrested...In Connection With" Uptown Fires—Alderman

Grunauer (Cook Co. Sheriff's Office)
Former Wrigleyville bartender Daniel Grunauer has been “arrested...in connection with the recent fires around the Margate Park area” in Uptown according to an email from 48th ward staffer Marko Zaric.

Grunauer “gave a statement admitting to forcibly entering the building at 5009 N. Sheridan, a scene of a recent fire…[and]…detectives continue to investigate the other fire related incidents and additional charges are possible.”

Grunauer is charged with one count of burglary in the Sheridan case. He is not—and has never been—charged with arson in Cook County. Bail is set at $4,000.

Terrible Fortune

Court records paint a rather luckless picture of Daniel Grunauer.

The Chicago Tribune reported in March that Grunauer was charged with calling in a false marine distress report that sent the U.S. Coast Guard and the Chicago Police Department's helicopter and Marine Unit searching for a non-existent person in the water near Edgewater Beach.

On June 1, a building manager in the 5800 block of Kenmore told police that two witnesses saw Grunauer throwing lit pieces of paper out of his window, setting fire to a couch below. The police report from that incident says Grunauer was also seen “on video shutting off power to the building... by switching off the circuit breakers.” Grunauer was charged with two counts of reckless conduct, but all charges were subsequently dropped.

At the time, Grunauer worked as a bartender for Wrigleyville's Fiesta Cantina, 3407 N. Clark.

Seven days after the Kenmore incident, on June 8, the Sheridan Road fire took place.

On June 10, a series of early morning fires swept through Wrigleyville, destroying several cars. As CWB reported at the time, “the first sign of trouble came...when officers…found a mattress on fire behind the Red Ivy bar, 3525 N Clark.”

Sometime over the summer, Grunauer moved out of his Kenmore apartment and into a unit in the 900 block of Ainslie.

Image: Google Earth
On August 19, an arson fire swept up the wooden porches behind an apartment complex at 919-923 W Margate Terrace in Uptown, displacing several residents, one of whom told CWB that he barely escaped with his life.

The Margate Terrace complex is located directly behind Grunauer’s Ainslie home.

Grunauer, whose age is shown as both 28 and 30 in various court records, pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer in 2011 and was sentenced to one year probation and 50 hours of community service.

Chicago Police arson investigators continue to hunt for an arsonist who they believe remains on the streets. Another series of fires struck in Boystown this past weekend and, according to the 48th ward's Marko Zaric, Grunauer was in jail at the time.
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Monday, September 15, 2014

WEEKEND REPORT: Arsonist Returns; Robber Shoots At Woman; Thou$and$ $tolen From Lakefront Bike $hop

The chilly air did not do much to slow criminals in the area this weekend. Some highlights:

• Boystown arsonist returned early Saturday. No structure damage, but one car was singed. He remains on the loose.

• Lincoln Park woman chased after the man who robbed her near Clark and Diversey. He turns around and shoots a gun at her.

Multiple callers reported a carload of thugs beating, threatening, and flashing a gun in Boystown early Saturday.

• Thousands (and thousands and thousands) of dollars worth of bikes stolen from cycle shop on Recreation Drive.

• Man beaten and robbed in Boystown Sunday evening. Cops catch one suspect.

Other recent highlights and the weekend tick-tock:
Tuesday, September 9, 3:08AM - Man calls 911 to report that the woman who stole his iPad is walking in front of him at Belmont and Halsted. Cops catch up with the woman at Halsted and Roscoe. She’s arrested.


4:08AM - Battery in progress reported at Belmont and Sheffield. Thing escalate when a caller reports that two unknown men in a blue Honda “ran over my friend.” EMS responds. Case HX425153.

BUSTED IN BOYSTOWN: Cops Catch Up With Cane-Wielding Robber

A sharp-eyed Boystown resident’s quick response helped Chicago Police track down a robbery offender yesterday evening.

The good citizen called 911 at 5:30PM to report seeing two men beating a victim on the street near Roscoe and Elaine, one block east of the Halsted strip. The victim was screaming for help and all three men were seen heading northbound on Elaine, the victim said.

Responding officers quickly caught up with the victim who reported that he had been beaten and robbed by the other two men. Within minutes, one offender was taken into custody near a courtyard apartment building in the 3500 block of Broadway. The other suspect was not found.

Suspect descriptions:
  1. Male, black, 6’4” tall, 240 pounds, shaved head, carried a cane (in custody)
  2. Male, black, 5’5” tall, beige shirt
CPD strong arm robbery case HX428405.

Tourist Trap

A tourist who is staying at the Magnificent Mile’s Millenium Knickerbocker Hotel calls for help from the BP station at Belmont and Racine early Sunday morning. He says he got mugged after he climbed into what he thought was a taxi cab. Instead, he found himself getting taken for a ride, robbed, and pushed out of the car. He did not want a report.
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VICIOUS CYCLE: Bike Shop Loses "$18,000 to $20,000" As Area Burglaries Continue

Lakeshore Bike (Yelp)
The burglars who’ve been feasting upon neighborhood residences and businesses hit the mother lode this weekend, reportedly taking $18,000 to $20,000 worth of bicycles from a lakefront rental stand.

Officers were called to Lakeshore Bikes, just north of the tennis courts at Addison and Lake Shore Drive, around 10 o’clock yesterday morning. There, the owner reported that his fleet of bikes had been taken by burglars who forced their way into his shop overnight. Case HX427879.

A CWB reader sent these photos of a man
he says used a tool to enter an apartment
building in the 3700 block of Clark in order
to steal packages. Yes, that white bag is
full of parcels, our reader says.
Also burglarized Sunday morning: three boats that were anchored in Montrose Harbor. No reports were immediately filed on those cases because the owners were not on-scene. Around 2:45 this morning, someone reported seeing three people “looking into boats” at Montrose, but no arrests were made.

Other notable break-in news:
• An officer responding to a loud alarm in the 3400 block of Janssen on Thursday evening found the screen cut out and window raised in a basement apartment. The victim was not on-scene, so no report was immediately filed.

• Friday morning, front glass was broken out of the Sprint store at 2850 Broadway in an attempted burglary.
Management did not immediately notice any missing inventory.

• Sunday morning, a restaurant in the 3800 block of Broadway reported that burglars forced their way in overnight. Case HX427793.

Additional burglaries reported in the area during the first week of September according to city data:

  • September 1, forcible entry in the 1000 block of Dakin. Case HX411504.
  • September 7, unlawful entry in the 3800 block of Lakewood. Case HX418976.
  • August 29, forcible entry in the 3200 block of Lakewood. Case HX408668.
  • September 3, forcible entry in the 3800 block of Clark. Case HX414935.
  • September 4, forcible entry in the 600 block of Cornelia. Case HX421658.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

BULLIES: Carload Of Punks Jump, Threaten Boystown

At least three people were beaten or threatened in Boystown by a carload of offenders in separate incidents overnight. No one is in custody and it appears that no official police reports were filed. The motive of the offenders is not clear.

Around 4:15AM, a man ran into the Walgreens at Clark and Barry after "five gang members" pulled up in a car at Halsted and Belmont, then jumped out and came after the victim. The five got back into their car when the man ran away. He described the offenders only as black men in a black car, possibly a Honda.

At 4:24AM, officers who were searching for the vehicle got flagged down outside of D.S. Tequila Company, 3352 Halsted, by a young male victim who reported that five individuals jumped out of a car and beat him up. The vehicle was described as a black or grayish Mercedes with four to five black male occupants who were "looking to beat up people.”

Less than a minute later, 911 received a call from a pedestrian who said a black Hyundai with five occupants just pulled up next to him at Belmont and Halsted. One of the occupants then flashed a gun at the caller. The car was last seen heading eastbound on Belmont toward Lake Shore Drive.

Possibly related to these three incidents is a 3:45AM 911 call that reported three men beating a victim in the 600 block of Oakdale. Officers could not locate a victim when they arrived on-scene.

Helmont Strikes Again

New information released by the Chicago Police Department this morning shows that yet another person has fallen victim to the robbery syndicate that operates on Belmont Avenue between Halsted and Seminary.

Raw data from the city shows that a person was robbed at knifepoint at 3AM last Saturday morning under the Belmont Red Line station L tracks. No arrest was made. CPD case HX418582.

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FIRED UP: Overnight Arsonist Strikes Boystown...Again

Remnants of an overnight arson fire in the 800 block of Buckingham.
Scene of an overnight arson fire in Boystown.
Another series of arson fires struck Boystown overnight, causing minor damage to one vehicle but no apparent damage to structures. CWB sources have indicated that these fires as well as two other sets of intentionally-set fires is believed to be related to a nearly-fatal fire in Uptown last month.

The latest round of fires, reported around 1:45AM, was concentrated
A partially-melted garbage can,
also on Buckingham.
in the alley between Buckingham and Roscoe from Halsted to Clark. Another fire was reported late Friday night behind 824 Roscoe in the alley shared with Newport. Known incidents:

• 824 Roscoe, garbage can, 11PM Friday
• 867 Roscoe, garbage. 1:45AM
• 874 Buckingham, garbage can, 1:45AM
• 844 Buckingham, large pile of refuse and trash cans set ablaze, car damaged. 1:44AM

This morning's incident at 867 Roscoe is the second arson at that address in two weeks. Surveillance video captured images of an arsonist setting fire to a mattress that quickly engulfed a garage there on August 31.

Last week, CWB was informed by a police source that the August 31 fires in Lake View may be the work of an "associate" of a man who police suspect in a nearly-fatal Uptown fire last month. That fire, in the 900 block of Margate Terrace, left several people homeless and at least one occupant is said to have barely escaped the flames.

According to our source, a suspect in the Margate Terrace arson was being held on a warrant but he had not "given up anything" so charges were not immediately filed.

Yesterday evening, a 48th ward representative emailed constituents to report that "police arrested an individual in connection with the recent fires around the Margate Park area," so the timing of the latest Boystown fires is, at the very least, a grand coincidence.

On June 10, an arsonist set fire to several cars, a mattress, and garbage cans in Wrigleyville alleys.
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LUCKY: Masked Gunman Shoots At Robbery Victim In LP

A masked gunman turned and fired one or two shots at a robbery victim who chased after him in nearby Lincoln Park Friday evening, police and witnesses report. The bullets missed their mark.

Officers were called to the area of Orchard and Drummond, about a block west of the Clark Street Best Buy store at 6:45PM after multiple 911 callers reported seeing a woman get mugged by an armed man wearing a ski mask.

The victim, who had been robbed steps from her front door, decided to pursue the offender as he ran toward Clark Street with her purse. Seeing her in pursuit, the gunman turned and fired one or two shots at the woman, who took cover and was not hit. The gunman was last seen turning north on Clark Street at the Best Buy store.

Police tracked the woman's iPhone to the area of Clark and Drummond, but soon lost its signal. The woman's bag was found about four hours later near the Covent Hotel SRO at Clark and Drummond.

Varying descriptions of the offender were given. The victim described him as black, in his early 30's, 5'7" to 6-feet tall, wearing a black hoodie, and carrying a backpack.

A witness who saw the robbery unfold from a nearby apartment described the offender as a Hispanic man wearing a gray Chicago Fire hoodie.

The gunman remains at large. CPD case number TBD.
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Friday, September 12, 2014

DAYTIME ROBBERIES: Two Victims Struck In Broad Daylight; Laundry Room Break-Ins Continue

New information released by the Chicago Police Department today reveals two daylight robberies took place in the Wrigleyville and Boystown area last Friday, September 5.

In the first incident, a victim was strong arm robbed on the sidewalk near Barry and Halsted around 11:15AM. No weapon was used. Case HX417419.

Less than two hours later, another victim was robbed on the sidewalk near Grace and Wilton. Again, no weapon was used in the attack, which took place around 1PM. Case HX417003.

No further details are immediately available on the robberies.

Money Laundering

A CWB reader dropped us a line with an all-to-familiar story this week. His accompanying picture speaks for itself.

This incident took place in the 700 block of Waveland late Sunday night.

Laundry room break-ins are a popular form of income among a certain demographic. The usual warnings about not allowing unknown persons into your building and ensuring that all doors secure properly still apply.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

HAPPY: Man Accused Of Setting Wife Ablaze Is All Smiles In Mugshot

Meet James Roberts, the man accused of pouring rubbing alcohol over his wife's head and setting her ablaze in an Uptown parking lot on Sunday.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office just released his mugshot and we couldn't help but notice his toothy smile.

Roberts is being held without bond. Prosecutors say his wife is struggling to survive.
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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

STICKY FINGERS: Meet Recent Burglary, Theft Arrestees

Anthony E. Knight (Cook Co. Sheriff's Office)
Anthony E. Knight, 56, allegedly stole a phone charger and $2 cash from the pockets of a man sleeping in Wrigleyville around 5:30PM last Tuesday. And when the 44-year-old victim woke up, court records say, Knight punched him in the face.

That’s when things went south for Anthony E. Knight.

Police say the victim, “fearing for his safety reached for a wooden club” and whacked Knight in the head. Knight’s charged with theft and battery in CPD case HX412850.

His Cook County Criminal Court record boasts a whopping 78 entries under his own name as well as aliases such as Anthony Cannon, Bruce Harper, Anthony King, Donald Anderson, and Don Macreet. He lists a shelter in the 1400 block of S. Canal as his home address.

Arrested Twice For Burglary In A Month

Kenneth King. (Cook Co. Sheriff's Office)
When Kenneth King was arrested by officers who suspected him of burglarizing a home in the 900 block of George on August 21, he was awaiting trial for another burglary matter in Boystown.

King, 35, is charged with theft in the George incident. Bail is set at $20,000.

One month before the George incident, King was charged with possession of burglary tools, criminal damage to property, and criminal trespassing after a resident accused him of using a pry bar to pop open doors in the 800 and 900 blocks of Cornelia. Cops caught up with King in the alley at 815 Cornelia and say they found him in possession of a crowbar and two screwdrivers.

A few days after King’s arrest on George Street, Cook County Judge Anthony Calabrese ordered the crowbar and screwdrivers to be destroyed in exchange for dropping the July burglary tools charge against King. The criminal damage and trespassing charges remain.

Grandpa? 60-year-old Stealing Bike Wheels, Cops Say

19th district cops saw a guy tampering with a bicycle as they drove up the 3500 block of Sheffield late last month. They popped a u-ey and saw 60-year-old Arnaldo Acosta walking away with the bike’s wheels, according to court records.

Also in Acosta’s possession, according to the cops: a lock cutter, several pairs of pliers, wrenches, and screwdrivers. He's charged with theft and possession of burglary tools.

Acosta's Cook County Criminal Court record has 31 entries under aliases such as Arnodo Acosta, Armalda Acosta, Armondo Acosta, Armondo Angulo, Arnoldo Cardenas, Raul Martin, Roberto Perez, and Rynaldo Castillo.

Among the items in his file: Serving 6 years for a 2004 burglary; serving one day for possessing burglary tools in 2010; and only paying court costs for burglary tool possession after Judge Anthony Calabrese ordered his bolt cutters destroyed in 2012.

His address? A shelter in the 1400 block of S. Canal.

No BS. I Stole The GPS

When a 911 caller reported two guys “running a scam” at Belmont and Sheffield shortly after midnight on August 28, officer responded and quickly found two men who matched the caller’s descriptions. One of those men was Aaron M. Brown, a 23-year-old self-admitted Gangster Disciple, according to court records.

Brown allowed the officers to conduct a protective pat down, during which a crowbar, screwdriver, and Garmin GPS navigation unit were found in his backpack. Where did the GPS come from? “I’m not gonna lie,” Brown allegedly told the officers, "That isn’t mine. I swiped it from a car.”

Brown was charged with possessing burglary tools and theft of lost or mislaid property.

Judge Anthony Calabrese ordered the burglary tools destroyed and that charge was dropped. Brown then pleaded guilty to the theft charge, received a 2-day sentence, and then a 2-day credit for time served.

He lists Lakeview Lutheran Church, located directly across from the 19th district police station, as his home address. Included on his rap sheet: three years probation for receiving/possessing stolen property in 2009; and a four years prison sentence for possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 2009.

Cops See Victim's Name Scroll Across Stolen iPod

Early in the morning on August 26, a Lakeview woman called 911 to report two men breaking into cars along Seminary between Oakdale and Wellington. When officers arrived, court records say, they performed a protective pat down on a suspect and found a pink-covered iPod with a power cord attached in the front pocket of 19-year-old Martrell Owens.

Cops say the name of the iPod’s female owner was scrolling across its screen, a circumstance that Mr. Owens had difficulty explaining. Owens is charged with one count of theft of lost or mislaid property. Another one of the individuals stopped was taken in for curfew violation.
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