Thursday, October 30, 2014

DONE & DONE: Helmont Gangway Secured, Tag Removed

The unsecured gangway as seen earlier this month (L)
and today (R). Below: The blue six-pointed star of
the Gangster Disciples street gang is now gone.
Ten days ago, tipped off by an Everyblock post and reader emails, we told you about a Gangster Disciples gang tag and a dangerous, unsecured passageway near Belmont and Sheffield—the heart of the "Helmont" crime strip.

We opened a Streets & Sanitation ticket on the graffiti. The city blasted the tag within 36 hours.

Now, with encouragement from Alderman Tom Tunney, the unsecured gangway has been boarded up, too.

Multiple robbery victims have told CWB that their attackers seemed to materialize out of that walkway, which was also used by the Helmont street criminals for back-door access to the Belmont CTA station.

We've never been stingy with the criticism of Alderman Tunney's performance on policing and crime. It is a pleasure to say that he and his office did an excellent job of getting these two issues rectified.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

JEAN JACKET JERK: Robbery Victims Give Similar Offender Descriptions; Victim Gives Phone Snatcher A Pass

The robbery locations seen on Google Earth.
Two victims of early-morning robberies have given similar descriptions of the offender (or offenders). Both incidents occurred near Belmont and Halsted during overnight hours.

At 2:15 Tuesday morning, a man called 911 to report that an offender had "maced" him and tried to take his phone and wallet near Belmont and Halsted. The caller said he was able to escape to the Belmont CTA station and he did not want police service.

He described the offender as male, black, about 21-years-old, 5'7" tall, with black-framed eyeglasses, and holding a North Face jacket. He said the would-be robber was wearing a hat, a blue jean jacket, a white t-shirt, and blue jeans. Police had no luck in their search for the suspect.

At 3:40 this morning, a Walgreen's clerk was robbed at 3046 N. Halsted, one block from last night's incident, by a man she described as black, 5'7" tall, wearing a dark blue jean jacket, blue jeans, and a hat. The offender, estimated to be 30- to 40-years-old, was last seen fleeing westbound on Barry. CPD case number HX486319.

Phone Snatcher Nabbed, Victim Won't Sign Complaint

Police responded to the area of Pine Grove and Irving Park Road at 9:20 last night after witnesses reported seeing a woman chasing the man who snatched her phone. Police caught up with the man and took him into custody at 655 W Grace moments later.

After getting her phone back, the victim—who lives in our neighborhood—refused to sign a complaint against the suspect.

However,  a police officer was injured while detaining the suspect and charges of resisting arrest have been filed against Milton Colbert, whose age and address were not immediately available.

Pelle Pelle Man

Police thought they may have captured the man responsible for punching and robbing a woman  while wearing a $1,000 Pelle Pelle jacket earlier this month. It looks like things did not pan out. As of this morning, no charges have been brought in the "Pelle Pelle" case.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

ARRESTING: Ex-Con, Living In Youth Shelter, Batters Center On Halsted Worker (And Other Recent Allegations)

(Cook Co Sheriff's Office)
A Near West Side man is charged in connection with an alleged robbery that reportedly took place after last Tuesday's Night Ministry outreach in Boystown.

Christopher Adams, identified by cops as a "known Conservative Vice Lord" is charged with robbery, battery, and theft. Bail is set at $10,000.

Adams, 23,  has been arrested in our neighborhood a number of times. His convictions include reckless conduct, theft, possession of a replica firearm, battery, and—this is a new one for us—unlawful use of a blackjack.

Purse Snatcher?

Warner (
Convicted armed robber Deangelo Warner, 23, is charged with theft in connection with an alleged purse snatching at the Clark/Belmont Starbucks on October 17.

Warner was arrested soon after police joined two citizens in a foot chase of Warner near the Belmont Red Line station.

In 2008, Warner, of the far South Side West Pullman neighborhood, was given a 5-year sentence for armed robbery with a handgun. In court records, police say he is a documented Ragtown Gangster Disciple. Warner denies that.

This mugshot is a little old. His hair currently looks more like this.

Deny, Deny, Deny

Bailey's bail slip, with The Crib as his home address.
It doesn't get much textbook-ier than this.

A convicted robbery offender who calls The Crib youth shelter home, has been charged with battering a Center on Halsted worker last Monday.

Donzell Bailey, 24, is accused of shoving a 28-year-old case worker who tried to quell a verbal altercation. COH security detained Bailey, who is now free on $1,500 bond.

Bailey pleaded guilty to a 2010 strong arm robbery and was given two years probation. When that didn't go well, the court gave him a 3-year prison sentence.

Now, as to the wisdom of having a 24-year-old robbery convict living in a shelter for at-risk kids...

Quick Hits

• Randy White, who identifies as Paris Taylor, has been charged with shoplifting after employees said she stuffed 4 packages of fake eyelashes and 3 containers of foundation in her purse at the Clark/Barry CVS store on October 16. We don't usually report on shoplifting cases, but White is becoming a bit of a fixture here, having appeared in CWB stories earlier this month as well as in August.

• Officers introduced themselves to 18-year-old Patrick Southall during a street stop near Graceland Cemetery at 3:30 Friday morning. Southall, who lives in the South Side Grand Crossing neighborhood was arrested on a warrant for failing to comply with a court-ordered electronic monitoring program.
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Monday, October 27, 2014

WOMAN MUGGED NEAR MASONIC: Offenders Flee In Vehicle With Purdue Plates

A woman was knocked to the ground in an attempted strong arm robbery at Halsted and Oakdale Monday evening. The offender and an accomplice fled the scene when the victim’s screams drew attention from passers-by.

At least three witnesses called 911 to report the 8:30PM attack.

The offenders reportedly fled the scene northbound in the in the west alley of Halsted in a black or dark colored sedan with Purdue University commemorative plates. Descriptions:
#1—black, mid-20’s, 6’2” tall, wearing a black or mostly-black track suit.
#2 (primary offender)—black, mid-20’s, 5’10” tall, dreadlocks, wearing a red “beanie” hat and a black hoodie.
Classified as an attempted strong arm robbery, the CPD case number is TBD.

A First

Also Monday, we came across the first known 911 call giving the address of our new LGBT-friendly senior housing project at Halsted and Addison. A man called 911 from 3600 N. Halsted to report that a known offender had just struck him and was “probably somewhere in the area.”

The call was dispatched to police at 6:29PM, although the dispatcher admitted that the call was "really old" because it had to sit around while short-handed officers handled more pressing matters.
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A DISASTER: Shootings Rip Uptown As Alderman's Failed Experiment Continues

UPDATE: The gravely-injured man has died. A CWB source tells us that police suspect Monday's second shooting incident was retaliation for the first.

Monday, Uptown achieved shitshow status.

Three shot in two incidents within hours. Two victims will be ok. The third will  probably die died this morning.

An Alderman Experiments

After a boy in his ward received a daylight bullet to the head in the middle of a bustling intersection last fall, Uptown Alderman James Cappleman said he and other aldermen were
"insisting on a commitment of more police officers on the street before we vote on the 2014 City Budget [sic]."
Cappleman changed his mind. Rather than pressing for a return of our cops, he settled for what DNAInfo Chicago called “[t]he city's promise of a one-year pilot program to address public drinking and chronic homelessness in Uptown” as “a viable alternative to more police…”

Said Cappleman,
“I want to try this out. I want to see if it works."
Cappleman's ward will have has its 4th homicide of the year with today's death.

It had one homicide last year.

But, hey. He's trying things out, seeing if they work.

Soon, the City Council will charade its way through hearings on the 2015 police budget. Aldermen will propose experiments. Others will claim a "tough decision" caused them to hamstring our cops.

Vote accordingly when the city's elections arrive in February.
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

WEEKEND RECAP: How To Judge The Judges; 4 Robbed; Homeless Blamed For Boystown Fire

Who hasn't skipped the tedious judicial section of Cook County ballots? This year, you can make a few informed choices instead.

Weekend of Take

The street criminals kept things interesting with a woman being beaten up and robbed behind the Wrigleyville Taco Bell early Sunday; a man being beaten and robbed near Halsted and Addison Friday; another man being robbed near Clark and Addison Saturday; and a man being punched in the face and robbed outside of the Belmont Red Line station, also on Saturday. No report on that last one. A Good Samaritan called 911, but cops couldn't find the victim.
 - Taco Bell story here   - Others here

Boystown Fire Caused By "Homeless," Cops Say

Substantial damage was cause to a home in the 900 block of Newport early Sunday morning when a mattress caught fire between two structures.

Sunday afternoon, police said the fire was "not arson" but rather a "homeless person trying to stay warm."

As a sharp reader pointed out, the 19th district's #2 officer stated earlier this month that a string of arson fires in Lake View "could be a homeless person that doesn't have anywhere to go and happened to be up at that time of night looking through garbage cans and scraps." Or not.
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BENCHED: Bar Associations Rate Judges On The Ballot

Separating the wheat from the chaff.
Image: Parris Blog
With early voting underway, we though we would pass along some information to consider when you come to the frequently-skipped judicial retention section of the ballot.

No Cook County judge has lost a retention vote since 1990.

Not even Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Brim. She was retained by voters in 2012 just seven months after she shoved a sheriff's deputy in a Cook County courthouse. (She was found not guilty in that case by reason of insanity.)

A CWB reader dropped us an email on Saturday:
Every election year, there are judges up for election and retention. Ten different bar associations get together and poll their members about issues with each judge so they can either be recommended or not.
The way retention works is that judges only need 60% yes votes. Leaving the ballot blank is the same as a yes. With people uneducated on this, they go to the voting booth and either vote yes for everyone or leave it blank because they don't know how to vote.
Because of this system, bad judges never get kicked off the bench. The ballot can be daunting because it's so long. All people really need to do is find the few really bad ones and vote no.
You can review the entire list of judicial ratings from all 10 bar associations HERE.

To save you some time, though, we've compiled a list of judges and candidates who received at least one "not recommended," "not qualified," or "do not retain" rating.

You are allowed to take this list into the voting booth.

Sitting judges who received "do not retain" recommendations from at least one bar association:

  • Themis N. Karnezis
  • James L. Rhodes
  • Sheila McGinnis
  • Dennis Michael McGuire
  • Laura Marie Sullivan
  • Joan Powell
  • Pamela Elizabeth Loza
  • Annie O’Donnell

Candidates for judicial vacancies who received at least one grade of "Not Qualified" or "Not Recommended" from local bar associations.

  • Kristal Rivers
  • Patricia O’Brien Sheahan
  • Diana Rosario
  • Steven G. Watkins
  • Terrence J. McGuire
  • John J. Mahoney
  • Judy Rice
  • James Paul Pieczonka

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WRIGLEYVILLE: Woman Beaten, Robbed Behind Taco Bell

Image: Yelp!
A woman reported being beaten and robbed in the alley behind Wrigleyville's Taco Bell around 1:45 this morning. No one is in custody.

After the attack, the offender fled westbound in the alley from 1119 Addison.  He is described as male, black, 6-feet tall, 150 pounds, wearing dark jeans with red rhinestones and a dark t-shirt.

Initial reports were that two men robbed her and one tried to rape her, but police only issued descriptions of one offender and no mention of sexual assault has been made public at this time.

CPD case number is TBD.
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HE'S BACK: Fire Races Up Boystown Home Overnight; Mattress Set Ablaze Between Homes; UPDATE: Cops Say Fire Caused By Homeless Person

A framed photo of Wrigley Field is seen through the burned-out window of a Boystown home Sunday.
The twisted springs of a burned
mattress (or two) lie beneath a Boystown
apartment window Sunday morning.
UPDATE: Chicago Police are saying the fire was caused by a homeless person who was trying to stay warm.
She awoke this morning to the sight of flames coming through her window and called 911. Somehow, someway, a mattress was set ablaze between her home and her neighbors. No one was injured.

The Boystown resident's overnight horror is believed to have marked the return of Lake View's serial arsonist, who had not been heard from in exactly one month—last striking with two fires on September 26, a block or so from this morning's blaze.

Fire and police responded to this morning's fire in the 900 block of Newport at 1:37AM. There, off of the alley, a mattress leaning against a yellow-sided home was set ablaze. Fueled by the flammable siding, flames raced to the top of the 4-story home.

A discarded mattress and box spring lie under the Red Line tracks
at Newport, perhaps 100 yards from this morning's fire.
Initial fire crews immediately labeled the incident arson, although the fire marshal pulled back from that until investigators do their thing.

Melted siding droops.
As with the two September 26 fires, this morning's blaze seems to have been intentionally set adjacent to occupied homes, a deadly escalation of the fire bug's operation.

Whoever is starting these fires surely has no trouble finding good fire-starting materials.

Under the Red Line tracks, less than 100 yards from this morning's fire, a mattress and box spring lie stacked up next to trash receptacles. Just begging someone with the wrong intentions to carry them down the alley a bit and strike a match.

Bail Lowered

Meanwhile, bail for Daniel Grunauer, the former Wrigleyville bartender who has been called a possible "associate" of the Lake View arsonist, has seen his bail lowered from "no bail" to $75,000.

Grunauer is charged with burglary after allegedly breaking into an Uptown apartment complex that was subsequently set on fire as well as attempted arson for allegedly lighting a dumpster ablaze in an Uptown alley.  

Flames raced to the top floor of the home. .
Police say Grunauer gave "admissions" in both cases.

Grunauer previously worked at Fiesta Cantina on Clark Street, a half-block from this morning's fire.

He has not been charged with any Lake View fires.
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Saturday, October 25, 2014

FUN: "Entertainment District" Yields At Least 3 Robberies Since Friday Evening

Things got started early in Boystown Friday when a robbery victim stammered into the Halsted/Addison Circle K at 7:40PM and asked for help. The victim was bleeding from the mouth after being beaten in the attack by two offenders:
1) Male, black, 6’3” tall, 20-25 years old, may have “Tasha” tattooed on neck
2) Male, Hispanic, 6-feet tall, 26-30 years old, may have a teardrop tattoo below one eye.
The victim was treated at Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Case number is TBD.

• Around 2:30AM today, a Wrigleyville man was beaten up and robbed by four offenders near Addison and Clark. After taking the man’s iPhone 5, cash, and credit cards, the offenders fled south on Sheffield. Case number is TBD.
Offender descriptions:
1) male, black, dreads
2) male, black, short hair
3) male, white, gray hoodie, jeans
4) male, white
• At 3:30AM, a concerned citizen reported that a victim had just been punched in the face and robbed of his phone outside the Belmont Red Line station. Officers were tied up with a street fight a half-block away. They were unable to find the victim or offender when they arrived.

• At 3:55AM, an Old Town resident had her purse snatched by two Hispanic men near Kingston Mines at Halsted and Wrightwood. Officers gave the victim a ride home and filed a report.


3:38AM - Officers ask for additional units to help break up the after-bar crowd at Big City Tap. “A fight almost broke out,” they say, “the guys in the Cadillac pulled a bat from their trunk”

5:39PM — Burlgary report filed. 3200 block of Clifton.

1:27AM — Big fight on the bachelorette party trolley, Clark and Patterson in Wrigleyville.

1:50AM — Battery just occurred, 3500 block of Clark.

3:01AM — Large fist fight underway at Belmont and Wilton. Ambulance summoned for a person down. One arrest.

4:26AM — Folks just arrived home in the 800 block of Lill and found their home burglarized.

5:04AM — In the 2100 block of fletcher, 4 white guys just stole a bunch of patio furniture.
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