Thursday, May 23, 2019

Man connected to Whitney Young High School carjacking is on probation for gun violation, has juvenile robbery record, more

Nicholas Williams | Chicago Police Dept.
The man who is charged with driving the carjacked SUV of a Whitney Young High School teacher this week is on probation for possessing a handgun—a probation term that was cut in half just three weeks ago by a Cook County judge.

The CPD arrest report that documents the capture of Nicholas Williams on Tuesday says cops and federal agents found Williams “in possession” of a loaded 9-millimeter handgun with a defaced serial number. But, a source with knowledge of the case told CWBChicago tonight that the gun was “ditched” and weapons charges could not be approved.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to an after-hours email seeking comment.

Court records show that in Aug. 2017 Williams was charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon for allegedly carrying a handgun in the front of his waistband during a traffic stop on the West Side. Police said in a report that the gun had been reported stolen one month earlier.

A grand jury returned a 12 felony count true bill against Williams. But the Cook County State’s Attorney dropped all charges on May 3, 2018.

Five months after that case was dropped, Williams was charged with a new set of eight weapons felonies for allegedly carrying a handgun in the front of his waistband while riding his bike on the West Side.

Last month, Judge Maria Kuriakos-Ciesil sentenced Williams to two year’s probation, 30 hours of community service and 175 days time served in the case.

His attorneys asked for a reduced sentence and, on April 29th, Kuriakos-Ciesil granted the motion by reducing Williams’ punishment to one year of TASC probation and 30  hours of community service.

In addition to all of that, Williams also has a juvenile conviction for armed robbery.

Prosecutors have charged him only with possession of a stolen motor vehicle in the Whitney Young carjacking. A source said the victim was unable to identify Williams as the man who ordered her from her car at gunpoint on the school's parking lot.

Judge John Lyke today ordered Williams held without bail.

2 charged in Marina City carjacking

Treshawn Duffie is charged with the robbery outside of Tortoise Club at Marina City. | CPD; Google
Two men have been charged with carjacking a valet attendant during the lunch hour Tuesday outside of the Tortoise Club restaurant, 350 North State, police said.

According to CPD, Treshawn Duffie, 18, and 17-year-old Zimmerman Flowers approached the attendant around 12:45 p.m.,  Flowers then pulled out a handgun and demanded the keys to a woman’s 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the department said.

Police Tuesday said the carjackers sped across the State Street bridge with the valet following behind in a separate car. The Jeep crashed in the 400 block of North Kingsbury and the two occupants ran from the scene.

Duffie was arrested after a short foot chase, police said.

Flowers was arrested in the parking garage of the East Bank Club. An eyewitness told CWBChicago on Tuesday that he saw the carjacker get knocked to the ground by an East Bank Club building engineer. The robber then produced a handgun, which was knocked from his grip by another club employee, and additional building engineers moved in to pin the carjacker until police arrived.

Duffie is charged with felony armed robbery. Flowers is charged with armed robbery, felony possession of a weapon, and aggravated possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

They are due in bond court Thursday afternoon.

Whitney Young carjacking arrest

Nicholas Williams | CPD
Chicago police and the FBI have arrested 20-year-old Nicholas Williams of the Garfield Park neighborhood in connection with the carjacking of a teacher in the parking lot of Whitney Young High School on Monday morning.

Later that evening, investigators located the victim’s stolen Nissan Rogue with Williams sitting behind the wheel, according to Chicago police.

Williams was charged with felony receiving-possessing a stolen motor vehicle. He is also due in bond court today.
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Yet another woman mugged in southeast Lakeview; Also: Woman robbed at gunpoint in Uptown

Approximate location of Tuesday's incident. | Multiplottr
An apparent spike in robberies around southeast Lakeview continues as a woman reports being robbed in the 500 block of West Barry. Witnesses said the 25-year-old woman was walking on the sidewalk around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday when she was jumped by a man who emerged from a passing car.

The offender wrestled the woman’s phone away and returned to the vehicle, which fled eastbound on Barry.

Police said the car is a four-door silver sedan with a license plate that begins with “BF.” It was driven by a second person.

The robber is described as a slim black man in his late teens, or early 20’s who stands 5’5” to 5’8” tall. He wore a yellow hoodie and light blue jeans.

Tuesday’s incident is the latest in a string of robberies in and near southeast Lakeview:
On May 18, a woman was robbed by two men as she parked her car in the 500 block of West Briar
A smoke shop in the 2800 block of North Clark was robbed at gunpoint around 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 19th 
A Comcast installer was robbed at gunpoint while working outside a home in the 1000 block of West Diversey at 3:45 p.m. last Friday, May 17

Uptown mugging

Separately, a woman reported that she was robbed at gunpoint around 1:45 a.m. Thursday on the 800 block of Buena in Uptown.

The victim told police that the man approached her from behind, forced her to lie on the ground, and took her purse and phone. She was unable to provide a description of the offender because she was never able to turn around and look at him, she said.
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Sentences: 4 years for beating 64-year-old man with pipe; 54 months for cruise ship chaos

Kevin Williams | IDOC
Some cases we told you about on CWBChicago have been resolved in court:

Beating a 64-year-old man with a pipe and robbing him in Old Town has earned 18-year-old Kevin Williams a four-year prison sentence.

On Nov. 28, the victim was walking near his home in the 300 block of West Goethe when he was approached by four teenagers, one of whom began hitting him in the head and face with a metal pipe. Other members of the group took the man’s tablet and wallet, according to a police report.

Williams, who became a legal adult just two days before the attack, was charged with the robbery along with an unnamed juvenile.

In a plea deal approved by Judge Nicholas Ford, Williams pleaded guilty to felony robbery of a victim over the age of sixty. Prosecutors agreed to drop three aggravated battery charges.

After receiving Illinois’ automatic 50% sentence reduction for anticipated good behavior, Williams’ parole date has been set for Nov. 25 of next year.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

7 arrests as shoplifting mobs hits Lakeview store again and again and again

A Chicago police unit at DSW following the April 17th flash mob. | Mark Weyermuller
Shoplifting mobs have been slamming one Lakeview retailer over and over again for the past month, collecting piles of merchandise and leaving store managers frustrated.

Police detain a man after the May 22nd mob. | Provided
The thieving “flash mobs” have struck DSW at 3131 North Clark at least five times since mid-April. Two incidents unfolded this week alone, resulting in seven arrests, according to Chicago police.

On April 17th, ten men and women in their late teens or early 20's ran out with at least 25 pairs of shoes, the store reported. No arrests were made.

On May 14th, the store reported that at least seven teenagers were running out the door with stacks of merchandise. Again, the entire group escaped.

Time after time, police said, the theft crews ran from the store and entered the Belmont Red Line station via an “exit only” staircase on nearby Fletcher Street. This week, cops knew what to expect.

Tuesday night, two 18-year-old men and a 16-year-old female juvenile were arrested after the store reported five people running from the store with duffle bags full of stolen shoes. Police, aware of what to expect, swung into action and arrested the trio at the Belmont Red Line station. Even when the girl managed to slip out of the Red Line station, an officer who was monitoring a police camera above the intersection of Belmont and Sheffield was able to tell cops on the scene that she was hiding inside the Slice of Cheesie's restaurant.

Police escort a suspect after the May 19 incident. | Provided
The scene was even crazier Sunday night as police responded to a still-larger group of thieves. Officers managed to round up four offenders, the department said: a 17-year-old male juvenile; an 18-year-old woman; and two men, ages 20 and 21. Stunned drivers and residents, unaware of what was going on, called 911 to report people running through the middle of Belmont Avenue and local side streets.

Whether or not the arrests will curb the pilfering packs of people remains to be seen.

"I hope they're scared away," a DSW worker said. "What are we supposed to do?"

CWBChicago will post an update with the alleged shoplifters' mugshots and backgrounds this weekend.
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Man charged with robbing 3 Old Town businesses 5 days

Latwaun Burns is charged with robbing the BP station at La Salle/Clark and two other businesses. | CPD; Google
An Old Town resident has been charged with robbing three businesses in that North Side neighborhood since last Thursday morning, Chicago police said.

Latwaun Burns, 41, of the 1400 block of North Sedgwick is charged with three felony counts of armed robbery while indicating the presence of a firearm and three felony counts of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Burns is accused of robbing three businesses in four days, starting with the BP station at 1647 North La Salle around 2 a.m. last Thursday. The attendant told police that the robbery entered the station, struck up a conversation, then displayed a handgun, and took cash from the register along with lighters and cigarettes.

Late on Saturday, the same man robbed the Sarpino’s restaurant at 158 West Division, police said. The hold-up was particularly daring as that Sarpino’s location is among the busiest in the chain. An officer on the scene said police had a hard time collecting fingerprints because customers kept coming in and demanding service even as the robbery was unfolding. A yellow bicycle that the robber used to escape the Sarpino’s job was found outside the North-Clybourn Red Line station.

Most recently, police say the offender robbed Tabaq restaurant at 1245 North Clybourn around 2 a.m. Monday.

The robberies were the subject of two separate alerts from Chicago police this week.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Armed carjacking at River North valet stand this afternoon; Another at Whitney Young High

Carjackers struck at Tortoise Club (right), then fled across the State Street bridge. | Google
Two men are in custody after carjacking a River North valet driver at gunpoint Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, police continue to search for the armed teenager who carjacked a Whitney Young High School teacher at gunpoint on the West Loop campus parking lot this morning. Here’s the latest:

Police said two men approached a valet driver outside of Tortoise Club, 350 North State, shortly before 1 p.m. and ordered him at gunpoint to hand over the keys to a woman’s vehicle. The men climbed into a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee and sped across the State Street bridge, according to witnesses.

Moments later, the Jeep slammed into three parked cars in the 400 block of North Kingsbury, forcing the offenders to run from the scene on foot.

One man ran into the parking garage of the nearby East Bank Club where a building engineer knocked him to the ground, a witness said. According to the eyewitness, the carjacker then pulled out a handgun that another building worker knocked from his hands. More building engineers moved in and pinned the robber to the ground until cops arrived, the witness said.

The second carjacker was caught by police after a foot chase near the crash site.

Charges are pending tonight.

In the earlier incident, a Whitney Young teacher was sitting in her Nissan Rogue on the school parking lot when a teenage boy entered the passenger side of the vehicle and demanded control of the car at gunpoint around 8:10 a.m., police said.

The woman surrendered the car to the boy who sped northbound on Laflin Street, police said.

She described the offender as a black male in his early teens who was wearing a gray hoodie. The vehicle bears an Illinois license plate that beings with “BF556.”
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After 39 years, Town Hall police commander turns in his star

Cmdr. Marc Buslik at Wrigley Field | CPD via Twitter
To the many Chicagoans who change jobs every couple of years or surf the “gig economy,” outgoing 19th District Police Cmdr. Marc Buslik has done the unimaginable: He's been reporting to work for the same employer since Jimmy Carter was president.

That ends on Wednesday.

“That's my 63rd birthday, and it has to be my last day on the payroll,” he said, referring to CPD’s mandatory retirement age. “I had thought that I might look for another job when I was 55, but by that time I was having too good of a time to quit. Then I was promoted to commander, and it made little sense to run out of here before I had to go.”

Buslik has been leading the sprawling Town Hall District from its Wrigleyville station house since November 2016, a feat that is itself is an achievement in a department that seems to endlessly shuffle its leadership deck.

And the man whose curriculum vitae includes conducting “covert audio and video surveillance”; being “deputized as a Special Federal Agent with the FBI"; and developing computer tools for policing in an era when Radio Shack and Commodore were the world's foremost desktop brands, says leading the local district has been his most enjoyable assignment of all.

The 19th District stretches from Fullerton to Lawrence, the river to the lake.
Before moving to Town Hall, Buslik spearheaded the department’s rollout of body cameras. And when the Laquan McDonald video prompted a U.S. Department of Justice “pattern and practice” investigation of CPD, Buslik was chosen to be the department’s liaison with federal officials.

“Body cameras are the police officers' and community's best friend,” Buslik said. “They keep everyone safer by helping to calm tensions when all know that they're being recorded and keep people safe. They help keep police officers accountable, and they prove that we do things the right way.”

And, as for that federal investigation, the 39-year veteran says Chicago’s cops “should embrace the [resulting] consent decree…We've screwed some things up over the years, but it's not as bad as some feel a need to claim. But the decree will help us be as good as we can be.”

What lies ahead for the department? "Our biggest challenge is how to fully participate in the social welfare system," Buslik said. "The effort that we are doing here in the 19th District in interacting with people who are mentally ill or in crisis is an excellent example of how to leverage the reality that the police often carry the burden to help people in crisis: whether mental health, housing or substance use.”

“Cops will occasionally say, ‘But we're not social workers.’ And they're right—but we are part of that social welfare system with a responsibility to keep all of our communities safe.”

Calling anti-violence efforts “a big inter-related system of systems,” Buslik said police “need to figure out how to take the lead with a whole range of other agencies and services: schools, parental education, recreation, jobs, housing, and hunger.”

“I think Mayor Emanuel began that effort and I expect to see Mayor Lightfoot approach violence similarly.”

Patrolman Marc Buslik | CPD via Twitter
Buslik also noted the progress CPD has made in taking care of its own officers over the years. "How we embrace our own mental health” is one of the most significant changes he’s seen in nearly 40 years on the job, he said while crediting former Supt. Terry Hillard with "helping us de-stigmatize seeking help."

But there is much more to do: “We need to continue to support our employees, from suicide prevention, to training, to internal organization legitimacy.”

Looking back, Buslik called his job as Town Hall commander the most enjoyable assignment of his career—“And I've had some very interesting jobs.”

“We made some really significant progress [in Town Hall] with crime and I've really liked working so closely with the community and the staff here.”

Among the significant successes in the district is a sharp reduction in robbery reports around the Wrigleyville and Boystown neighborhoods, an area that previously set record-high hold-up stats for three years in a row and recorded more robberies than any other police beat.

City statistics show Wrigleyville and Boystown recorded just 20 robberies through the first four months of this year, down from 55 during the same period in 2016 - and the second-best opening to a year since at least 2001.

“We made it clear to the businesses that we would fully support their efforts to make money. But it would not come at a sacrifice to the law and public safety,” Buslik said. “There are still some business leaders who can't seem to get their heads around the fact that public safety leads to successful businesses, but most certainly have."

A 19th District bike team patrols Boystown. | CPD via Twitter
The commander also praised a legislative effort spearheaded by Lakeview Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) that bans late-night parking on a half-mile stretch of Halsted Street through Boystown. Tunney and police said the ban was needed to counter “car parties” in which groups would hang out on the sidewalks, blast music from cars, dance in the street, and drink booze from their trunks all night long.

The parking ban “was true problem solving and was supported by the business community,” Buslik remembered. “Those troublemakers were not their customers.”

Finally, Buslik said, “We changed how we police. No longer did we rely solely on the presence of a beat car on patrol. Instead, we have deployed bicycle and foot officers as well as targeted extra patrols…”

Calling himself “quite pleased with the results,” Buslik recognizes that “they remain dynamic and subject to continued evaluation of success or failure.”

Local residents have taken note of the improvements, including one couple who recently gave Buslik his proudest moment as leader of the 19th District.

“They said that had moved to the area a few years ago and about two years ago were seriously thinking about relocating to the suburbs because they felt unsafe and isolated in their local community,” he remembered. “But the letter went on to say that because of their interaction with the officers in the field and then later the staff in our Community Policing Office they felt a renewed sense of belonging to a thriving, safe community…This made me feel darn good about what our officers and supervisors have done here. I'm glad to have been a part of that effort.”

So, what’s next? Buslik plans to take the summer off before continuing his teaching roles at UIC and Oakton College in Des Plaines. As for rampant rumors that he's interested in heading up a suburban police department, Buslik says those are just rumors.

“I have no interest in being a police chief,” he insists. “Of course, that's what Eddie Johnson said!”
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Court report: Kicking 79-year-old woman in face on CTA? That'll get you probation... Plus other recent sentencing decisions

Jerrel Turner | CPD
Some cases we told you about on CWBChicago have been resolved in court:

A 35-year-old transgender woman who swung her body from a CTA train’s overhead handrail and kicked a 79-year-old woman in the face without provocation has been sentenced to two years of mental health probation.

Jerrel Turner pleaded guilty to one felony count of aggravated battery of a person over age 60. In exchange, prosecutors dropped two additional counts of aggravated battery. Judge Adrienne Davis approved the plea agreement.

On Jan. 13, Turner and the victim were riding a Red Line train when Turner swung her body and kicked the woman in the face as the train neared Bryn Mawr, prosecutors said.  Witnesses followed Turner from the train and alerted police.

“She kicked an old lady in the face on the train,” a witness reportedly told arriving officers. A second witness confirmed details of the attack, police said, and the victim was able to identify Turner as the attacker.

The victim, who lives in Rogers Park, was admitted to Weiss Hospital for treatment of blunt trauma to her forehead, according to police records.

Justice Smith (inset) was accused of battering a police officer near Wrigley Field. | File; CPD
• A Kalamazoo, Michigan, man who was accused of attacking a police officer near Wrigley Field in March has received a two-year conditional discharge.

Justice Smith, 23, approached an officer who was sitting in a patrol car and said, “I’m gonna beat your ass,” the cop later reported.  After the officer managed to get out of the patrol car, Smith ran into a nearby 7-Eleven store where he flailed his arms and pushed the officer’s head down with his hands and arms as he tried to escape, police said.

Back-up officers arrived and took Smith into custody, but not before he damaged $157 worth of the store’s merchandise, according to charges. The original officer reported suffering a cut to the side of his face and behind his ear.

Smith reached a plea deal with prosecutors that has them dropping six felony counts of aggravated battery to a police officer in exchange for his pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor resisting police. The deal was approved by Judge Timothy Chambers.

Edward Smith | Wikipedia; CPD
• A man who just pleaded guilty to a May 2017 robbery along the Boystown bar strip has been sentenced to three years—but after applying Illinois’ 50% sentence reduction for anticipated good behavior in prison and credit for 454 days spent in jail awaiting trial, Edward Smith will be released from prison on Aug. 2nd.

Smith and an accomplice pushed a 25-year-old victim into an alley in the 3200 block of North Halsted and robbed him around 3 a.m. on May 18, 2017.

Smith also received a 90-day concurrent sentence for battering a corrections officer while he was in jail.
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Monday, May 20, 2019

That's #3: Armed robber strikes ANOTHER Old Town business early Monday

Tabaq restaurant, 1245 North Clybourn, was targeted early Monday, according to police. | Google
An armed robbery who has been targeting businesses in the Old Town neighborhood since last Thursday struck again early Monday —- but he left empty-handed this time, police say.

A witness called 911 shortly before 2 a.m. Monday after he saw the robber displaying a handgun inside Tabaq restaurant, 1245 North Clybourn, during a robbery attempt. But the store employee had no money to give the gunman, who grew nervous and fled out the back door, police said. Police were investigating a report from one witness that the gunman fired a shot during the hold-up.

The gunman on Monday was wearing a black du-rag, a red and white checkered shirt, and black pants.

Investigators believe the same man is responsible for at least two other armed robberies in the Old Town area recently:

• Around 2 a.m. on Thursday, a man entered the BP service station at 1647 North La Salle and announced a robbery, police said. The offender displayed a handgun and took cash from the register along with lighters and cigarettes before escaping on foot, the store manager said.

• Then, a daring armed robbery of the Sarpino’s restaurant at 158 West Division was reported around 11:50 p.m. on Saturday. The pizza shop is one of the chain’s busiest locations, and a police officer on the scene said they had a hard time collecting fingerprints because customers kept coming in and demanding service even as the robbery was unfolding.

The gunman fled Sarpino’s with cash and jumped on a yellow mountain bike that was later found at the North-Clybourn Red Line station, according to a CPD source.

A community alert issued by detectives early Monday and then re-issued after the Tabaq hold-up, said that the robber entered the businesses and struck up a conversation before producing a handgun and announcing the robberies.

The suspect is a black male between 40- and 50-years-old with a dark complexion who stands 5’10” to 6’1” tall and weighs about 160 pounds, the alert said.

Witnesses at the BP station said he was wearing a green jacket, dark pants, and had short hair. Employees at Sarpino’s said the man was wearing a black winter cap, black shirt, and blue jeans.

Anyone with information about the suspect may contact Area Central detectives at 312-747-8380 regarding pattern P19-1-161BA.
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