Saturday, August 27, 2016

Uptown Gangbangers Kill *Another* Innocent Bystander

A bystander administers first aid in an attempt to save Friday's shooting victim in Uptown. (Nathaniel Marshall)
A 55-year-old man was shot dead on Uptown's bustling Wilson Avenue yesterday evening—the second unintended victim of daytime gang gunfire within a single city block this month. No one is in custody.

Investigators believe a member of the Conservative Vice Lords street gang was the intended target of the 6:15PM shooting, which unfolded on a sidewalk in front of 909 W. Wilson.

Photo: @UptownChicagoRock1
Instead, one of the bullets struck a bystander in the right ribcage and killed him.

A source identified the victim as Robert Kraft. A passer-by believed Kraft to be homeless.

31-year-old Nathaniel Marshall captured unsettling video as a bystander and then Chicago Fire Department paramedics tried to save Kraft.

Facebook removed Marshall's videos and we have re-posted them to YouTube with his permission. (Video one  • Video two).

“I grew up in Uptown,” Marshall told us last night. “I don't feel safe at all. I want to move away.”

Second Innocent Killed

Earlier this month, a 57-year-old grandmother was shot in the chest and killed by errant gang gunfire less than a block from where Kraft was gunned down.

Penny Gearhart was standing outside of 4535 N. Sheridan at 3:20PM on August 3 when a drive-by shooter opened fire. She died moments later. A 58-year-old man who was with Gearhart was also shot.

Gearhart’s murder, like 79% of all killings in Chicago this year, remains unsolved.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Undercover Narcotics Cop Robbed During Wrigleyville Sting

An undercover police narcotics operation has resulted in the arrests of 18 men on the streets of North Side entertainment districts this month. And, in true Wrigleyville fashion, one arrestee tried to rob the undercover cop!

Paris L. Williams of the South Deering neighborhood is charged with battery and theft after police say he punched an undercover narcotics officer in the face and took $50 in pre-recorded currency at 1109 W. Addison on last Friday evening, according to court records.

Williams is a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang.

Other arrests in our neighborhood during the operation include:

• Andrew Givens, 27, of Auburn Gresham is accused of selling a gram of cocaine to an undercover officer outside of Roscoe’s Tavern, 3356 N. Halsted, on August 19. Police say they found six bags of suspect cocaine as well as pre-recorded currency in Givens’ possession at the time of his arrest. He’s charged with manufacture-delivery of cocaine near a school and possession, both felonies.

• Travis S. Crockett, 36, of Englewood is accused of selling five grams of cocaine to an undercover officer outside of Slugger’s World Class Sports Bar, 3540 N. Clark, on August 12. Cops say they found four baggies of marijuana and one bag of cocaine in Crockett’s possession along with $40 in pre-recorded currency. He’s charged with manufacture-delivery of cocaine near a school and two counts of possession.

• Daniel Pelt, 57, of Belmont Cragin sold cocaine to an undercover officer outside of Sports Corner at Sheffield and Addison on August 12, police say. He’s charged with one count of manufacture-delivery of cocaine near a school. Pelt is a member of the Conservative Vice Lords street gang, according to police records.

Meanwhile, a 100-minute-long undercover narcotics operation near the Gold Coast’s Division Street bar district resulted in 15 arrests last Thursday.

According to court records, the 15 men were arrested between 3:50AM and 5:30AM for offering to sell drugs to or asking to buy drugs from undercover officers at Clark and Division.

All of the cases involve attempts to purchase or sell crack or heroin.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Woman Mugged On Rahm's Street Tuesday Afternoon...And The Offenders Got Away

An unmarked police unit sits outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's home at 4228 N. Hermitage (Google Street View)
A woman had her computer bag snatched from her hand in the 4200 block of N. Hermitage yesterday afternoon—the same block that is home to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his 24/7 personal police force.

No one is in custody.

The woman was walking near Emanuel’s home shortly after 1PM Tuesday when a teenager jumped out of a “very old black Cadillac,” grabbed her computer bag from her hand, and then fled in the same vehicle. She was not injured.

Police describe the offender as a black male teenager wearing a white tank top and black cargo pants.

The crime has been classified as a theft.

The mayor's home is protected around the clock by at least eight police officers who are assigned to patrol our 19th district. The force includes at least two cops in front of Emanuel's home, at least two more in the rear of his home, a sergeant, and "roving units" that make circles around the block.

There is no information as to why the mayor’s home protection detail did not intervene in the attack on the woman or report the crime to other units.

The victim is 50-years-old.

Punched And Robbed In Lakeview

A Lake View man was punched in the face and robbed by an offender who jumped out of a silver minivan in the 1300 block of W. Roscoe on Sunday morning.

The man was walking around 6AM when the passenger—described only as a 5’8” black man—got out of the van, punched him in the nose, and then stole his iPhone. The vehicle fled westbound on Roscoe.

Other Robberies

• The Subway restaurant at 2825 N. Ashland was robbed at gunpoint of several hundred dollars Saturday afternoon. The offender is described as a 30-year-old black man who stands about 6-feet tall, weighs about 210 pounds, and has a beard and “large lips.” He was last seen westbound on Wolfram wearing a black shirt, black hat, and black clothing.

• Two days before the Subway robbery, a woman was robbed at gunpoint just two blocks away. The woman was near Wrightwood and Ashland at 2:30AM on Thursday when an offender displayed a gun, punched her in the face, and stole her purse. She described the offender as a black male teenager.

• A pizza delivery driver was pistol-whipped and robbed near Clark and Montrose shortly after midnight on Thursday. Three to five men surrounded the driver as he got out to make a delivery and one of the robbers hit him in the face with a handgun. All three men then rifled through the victim’s car and stole his pizzas, but they did not take the money from his pants pocket.  All three offenders were described as black male teenagers.

Bucket Boy Resists Arrest, Gets Tazed 3 Times In Wrigleyville

A 30-year-old South Shore man was tazed three times and now faces a long list of criminal charges after he refused to be arrested for performing as an unlicensed “bucket boy” in Wrigleyville, police say.

Jackson (Chicago Police Dept)
Cops say they first tried to arrest Nathan Jackson for banging on a white 5-gallon bucket outside of Slugger’s bar in the 3500 block of N. Clark Street on August 11. But, Jackson “pulled away and fled,” police said.

Four days later, the same officers saw Jackson playing the same bucket at the same location as before. They tried to arrest him again.

Jackson stiffened his arms and refused to comply with police commands to put his hands behind his back. Officers tazed Jackson three times as they struggled to take him into custody, according to an arrest report.

Now, Jackson’s charged with four counts of resisting police and two counts of street performing without a license.

Court records show that Jackson was sentenced to two years in prison for resisting police in 2014 and six years for heroin distribution in 2007.

Police say Jackson is a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang. He's being held in lieu of $3,000 bail.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Rockford Cops Bust Fugitive Who Mugged Boystown Widow

Just as one local fugitive has been rounded up, two more criminals awaiting trial have gone missing as Cook County's defendant-friendly court system continues to put dangerous (and allegedly dangerous) people back on the streets.

Boystown Widow Beater Found

Vacha (Winnebago Co. Sheriff)
Robert Vacha, who received a laughable 30 months probation for mugging a 61-year-old woman in Boystown the day after her husband died, has been rounded up and returned to Cook County after going AWOL from court supervision.

After Vacha violated the terms of his probation last summer, a judge ordered him to live in a facility on the city's South Side.

An arrest warrant was issued because, rather than live in the facilty, Vacha fled to Rockford, IL, where he posted liberally (and publicly) on Facebook for over a year. 

His luck ran out a couple of weeks ago when Winnebago County sheriff's deputies came knocking on his door.

The Winnebago County authorities were much nicer to Vacha than Vacha was to that poor widow on Halsted Street.

See ya sooner than we'd like.
"Cops suck," Vacha wrote in his final Facebook post, "but they help me out let me smoke and drink befor going to jail."

Vacha is now being held without bail in the Cook County Jail.

In The Wind

Meanwhile, two men who were freed to await trial in separate local cases have gone missing, according to court records.

First up: Antoine Jackson. He's accused of pointing a gun at man's head as the Red Line train they were riding pulled into the Addison station this spring.

But, he failed to show up in court this month and nobody seems to know where he is. He's charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a replica firearm. (The gun turned out to be a look-alike BB gun.)

Also missing: Cornelius Brewer. He's facing charges of aggravated robbery, battery, and theft of lost or mislaid property after a Lakeview landscaper was allegedly pushed to the ground and robbed of a leaf blower in May. But, Brewer never showed up for his court date this month and he, too, is out there wandering the streets. Be sure to say "hello," if you see him.
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Founder of Bow Truss Coffee Accused Of Domestic Battery

He's a self-described "serial entrepreneur."

He's the Johnny Appleseed of North Side coffeeshops.

And, now, he's accused of domestic battery.

Philip Tadros, the 37-year-old man behind the Bow Truss coffeeshop chain, is free on $2,000 bail after being arrested at his home in the 3600 block of N. Wayne last Thursday evening.

Police did not identify the relationship between Tadros and the alleged victim, but a source said that a "child" called 911 to report that a husband and wife were fighting at the home around 4:45PM.

Other callers reported a couple "fighting" in an alley near the CVS Pharmacy at Addison and Southport, according to the source.

Tadros is accused of pushing a woman to the ground and biting her finger, police said.
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Violent Crime Soars Across North Side As "Perfect Storm" Gives Criminals The Green Light

A wave of violent crime is washing across the North Side this year as Chicago police officers face increasing threats and scrutiny.

Through July 31, violent crime reports are up in every lakefront neighborhood from the Loop to Edgewater.

Reports of the most serious crimes—homicide, criminal sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated battery—are up as much as 61%. Uptown saw the smallest increase in our study, with 15% more violent crime this year.

And virtually every area is also seeing an increase in total crime. Only North Center showed an overall crime drop through July 31, with a 4% reduction compared to the same time last year.

The Loop has seen crime jump 26% overall this year, the most of any area. Near North is up 15%. Lincoln Park and Edgewater have both seen 11% overall crime increases.

Citywide, homicides are up more than 40% and shootings are up 50% over last year, according to the authoritative tracking of

A neighborhood-by-neighborhood crime breakdown is shared at the end of this story.

“A Perfect Storm”

Police officers who spoke with us consistently offered similar reasons for the North Side crime trend: A sharp reduction in proactive street stops by officers; a systematic reduction in local police manpower under Mayor Rahm Emanuel; and a pullback from aggressive policing as officers ensure that they do not become the next cop to be caught on viral video.

The first signs of trouble came early this year when the Chicago Police Department began requiring officers to complete a two-page “Investigatory Stop Report” (ISR) whenever they stop a person on the street.

ISRs take nearly 30 minutes to complete, a patrol officer said, far more than the index card-sized “contact card” that the department previously used to track street stops.

Officers have been told that ISRs are being reviewed by a retired federal judge as well as lawyers for civil rights groups, a process that many proactive cops believe is a witch hunt.

Narcotics arrests, one of the most common arrests to stem from street stops, are down 47% this year citywide.

The Threats To Kill Cops

Perhaps the greatest force working against cops today are videos of officer-involved shootings, very often found to be justifiable, that are being seen widely and with increasing regularity.

As outrage against police grew in some communities, officers learned that gangs and lone wolves were targeting cops for street executions.

Copy of a July 24 Chicago Police Department officer safety alert.
Chicago police learned in July that certain street gangs were offering “promotions” to cop killers.

The department responded to the threat by requiring at least two police officers to ride in every patrol car.

That order slashed the number of police units on patrol across some North Side districts in half.

Before the buddy system was rolled out, nearly every beat car in our local 19th police district had just one officer during daytime hours, according to a source.

As a result of the 2-man minimum, the district—which stretches from Fullerton to Lawrence and from the Chicago River to Lake Michigan—has operated with 50% fewer patrol units.

The 19th district’s evening shift, which had been operating with approximately 33% solo officers, was similarly affected.

Reliance on so-called "99" units—CPD's term for officers who are working alone—allowed Emanuel to slash police manpower across the area while technically keeping units on patrol.

Now, with available units slashed, police districts are running out of cops with never-before-seen frequency. When all officers are on assignments and none is available to handle incoming 911 calls, the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications declares the district to be in "Radio Assignment Pending" (RAP) status.

An examination of RAPs in our neighborhood found that there were 32 RAPs declared in the 19th district between January 1 and July 15 of this year.

But another 29 RAPs have been record since July 15.

RAP frequencies have soared across the city, with traditionally “safer” neighborhoods—those areas that Emanuel's administration intentionally cut police resources—suffering the most.

The 19th district has entered RAP status 61 times this year according to tracking maintained by CWB Chicago. By comparison, the district had 43 RAPS in all of last year and 50 in 2014.

The Stats

This graph shows the year-over-year changes in selected crimes for North Side neighborhoods. N/A indicates that a percentage cannot be calculated.  Police this year have found one homicide in Lake View and another in North Center to be non-criminal acts of self-defense.

Rogers ParkUptownLincoln ParkLake ViewNorth CenterNear NorthLincoln SquareLoopEdgewater
Crim Sexual Assault62%Unch.125%-29%Unch.75%-20%186%133%
Agg Batter (not shooting)31%59%-13%24%Unch.54%67%7%Unch.
All Violent Crime46%15%42%34%25%50%20%61%44%
Motor vehicle theft-3%-11%45%17%23%62%26%50%86%
All Crime3%2%11%10%-4%15%7%26%11%
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

For The Second Time, This Guy's Accused Of Mugging Someone At A Wrigleyville ATM (But WAIT! There's More!)

This story may sound very familiar to you. And with good reason.

Williams (Cook Co. Sheriff's Office)
A man who was accused of robbing a tourist at a Wrigleyville ATM last November has been arrested again—and charge with robbing another man at a Wrigleyville ATM last month.

Cops arrested Jerome Williams in the 3500 block of N. Clark Street last Sunday after he was picked out of a photo line-up by a man who was beaten and robbed at an ATM near Clark and Addison on July 31.

Last November, Williams was arrested at virtually the same address with brothers Marcell and Zikee Townsend after witnesses identified them as the men who robbed a visitor from Texas at a nearby ATM.

The Townsend brothers: Marcell (L) and Zikee (R)
Charges against all three were dropped because the victim did not return to Chicago for a court appearance.

Even more incredibly, both Townsend brothers were arrested again in March after they were accused of robbing yet another man on in Wrigleyville.

Now, it’s Williams’ turn to face Cook County “justice” again.

In the latest mugging, Williams approached a 21-year-old Bloomingdale, IL, man in Wrigleyville, knocked him to the ground with a couple of punches to the face and then went through the stunned victim’s pockets to take a wallet, phone, and $60 cash, prosecutors said.

The latest victim was attacked at this ATM near Clark and Addison
Video of the attack was captured on surveillance video at the nearby Cubby Bear bar, according to police records.

Last Sunday, a police anti-robbery team took Williams into custody after seeing him on Clark Street near the Cubby Bear.

Cops found a package of cocaine in Williams' wallet along with a credit card belonging to another man, according to police.

He’s charged with robbery and cocaine possession.

Of course, this is Cook County, so things aren’t all that bad for Williams. A judge agreed to let him go free on electronic monitoring.

Williams lives in the South Side’s Chatham neighborhood.
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

$1,350,000 Gut Rehab For Sale (Car On Blocks Not Included)

It's a $1.35 million gut rehab.

With zero curb appeal!

In a real estate broker's worst nightmare, someone put this little car up on blocks and stole its wheels smack dab in front of a freshly-finished house flip that's on the market at 3939 N. Leavitt.

CWB Chicago reader @starshiplimo sent us the pic this morning.

Someone who paid $660,000 for the woodframe home last summer is now seeking a whopping $1,350,000 for the "gut rehab with 4-5 bedrooms upstairs in the sought after Bell School district!"

Oddly, the real estate listing makes no mention of the urban artwork that now commands the view from the home's "friendly front porch."

Lakeview's Finer Things

Meanwhile, another car was left on blocks this week in front of 1508 W. Byron--where a 3-story, five bedroom mansion is making a new home.

There's no word on how much developer Barnett Homes will be asking for the mega-mansion, but we do know that they paid $875,000 for the teardown!

Again, the developer's site fails to tempt potential buyers with the complimentary tire removal service that complete strangers offer in our neighborhood. It's just our way of saying "welcome to Lakeview!"
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Gunman Robs Walgreens of $10,000—Then Escapes On Rush Hour Train

Detectives are trying to track down the gunman who robbed a local Walgreens of up to $10,000 in cash during this morning’s rush hour.

And, to the surprise of absolutely no one, the offender is believed to have escaped the area by taking a train from the Belmont CTA station.

Shortly after 7 o’clock this morning, a man entered the store at 1001 W. Belmont then confronted a customer and an employee at gunpoint, according to a witness who spoke with CWB Chicago.

The two victims were forced into the store management office where the robbery unfolded.

Police describe the offender as a tall black man between 20- and 30-years-old. He wore a black wig, a tight fitted sweatshirt with front pockets, jeans with distinctive white markings on the front pocket area, and white gym shoes. One witness said the gunman had a black backpack and was carrying a can of Red Bull.

Investigators believe that he arrived at the Belmont CTA station minutes before the robbery and he subsequently fled on a northbound train around 7:15AM.

The Station That Cannot Be Secured

Today’s incident is the latest daring violent crime to unfold near the Belmont station this month. Yet, despite assurances from local alderman Tom Tunney that CTA station security is being “beefed up,” there never seem to be cops at the terminal when things go down.

This morning’s hold-up took place 100 yards from the station during the morning rush hour, yet there were apparently no CTA resources on-hand to take action when 911 calls came in.

As of late Tuesday night, there had been no arrests in three shootings and multiple robberies that have been committed near the Belmont CTA station this month.

Man Charged With Possessing Stolen Milk Crate At Belmont CTA

Well, at least one Belmont CTA "criminal" learned his lesson.

Police resources were made available Friday to arrest a 50-year-old vagrant for sitting on a stolen Dean’s Milk crate at the bustling Red Line hub.

No, friends, this is not a joke.

Court records show that Mark Holden of Wicker Park was arrested at 9AM on Friday after police determined that he did not own the Dean's-emblazoned milk crate that he was sitting on while begging for money in front of the Belmont station.

He is now charged with one count of “delivery container theft.” Yes, that’s what the charge is called.

CWB Chicago editors have determined that Holden is only the second person to be charged with possessing a stolen milk crate in Chicago since 2013.
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