Friday, January 30, 2015

THEY'RE BA-ACK: Another Search Warrant Executed At Wrigleyville's "Hidden Camera" House
Chicago Police executed another search warrant Thursday morning at the Wrigleyville condo building where a woman last week reported finding a hidden camera in her bedroom vent.

It is not yet clear which areas of the property were searched or if the warrant is connected to the hidden camera case.

A CWB source reports that the detectives who executed the search warrant in the 1100 block of Eddy yesterday spent about 30 minutes on-scene. They are assigned to the Area Three property crimes division and usually handle burglary cases.

CWB has learned that a burglary report was filed at the Eddy address last June following a series of 911 calls over the course of three days. The circumstances surrounding the calls were not typical of burglaries. The June 23 incident was categorized as an "unlawful entry" burglary, which means that no force was used to enter the premises.

Police also executed a search warrant at the building last week, about 16 hours after a third-floor resident reportedly found a recording device hidden above her bed. Investigators were seen leaving the building with materials wrapped in brown paper after that search.
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

FROM BAD TO WORSE: Big Mouths Bring Extra Charges For Some Local Arrestees

Sometimes, it’s better to just keep your yap shut. Like, say, these times:

• James Martensen, 51, of Boystown is charged with assault, criminal trespass to land, and theft of lost or mislaid property after a January 12th incident.

According to court records, police met Martensen after he allegedly refused to leave a 7-Eleven store in the 1200 block of Belmont. During processing at the police station, officers say Martensen, who “has a lot of retail theft in his background,” was found to be in possession of a sports garment that still had Fleet Feet price tags on it and would not fit Martensen’s 6-foot-6-inch, 280-pound frame.

One more thing. In the station, officers say Martensen shouted to an officer, “Fuck you. I am gonna get a gun and shoot you in the head.”

• Cops met Stephen Friberg, 54, of Anchorage, Alaska, in the 1000 block of Belmont a couple of weeks ago after local businesses reported that he was throwing potted plants into the street. Upon meeting the officers, Friberg allegedly said, “Fuck you. I’m going to make this difficult for you. I’m tired of getting tickets.”  Friberg was arrested without difficulty and is now charged with reckless conduct.

• Security officers at a high-rise building in the 500 block of Hawthorne Place asked Salvation Army driver Derrick Stokes to move his truck, which was blocking the building’s driveway. According to court records, Stokes, 43, told the guard that he would kick the guard’s ass and also shove the guard’s badge up the guard’s ass. Stokes was charged with assault.

VIDEOS: Rahm Motorcade Gets 5 Red Light Tickets Since November; Caught Running Light To Enter City Park

Chicago's network of red light and speed cameras are supposedly designed to keep children and families safe near schools and parks. But they don't seem to be slowing down Mayor Rahm Emanuel's motorcade.

Since late November, Emanuel's 2-car motorcade has received five red light camera violations, including one in which the mayor zips through a red light to quite literally enter a city park.

What's more, the Chicago Police Department—operators of the mayor's cars—has received notices of determination on two of the tickets because CPD failed to "respond with full payment or a hearing request."

The Chicago Police Department currently owes the city $500 for outstanding violations issued since November 20.

We've posted videos of the latest motorcade violations on our YouTube channel. Here are the highlights:

November 20, 2014, 6700 S. Cornell  (View HERE)—Rahm runs a red light and flies into Jackson Park. The mayor's hurried pace juxtaposes well with the citizen in a motorized wheel chair who waits patiently on the roadside for the motorcade to barrel through.

January 5, 2015, 4000 N. Ashland (View HERE)—A Rahm car runs the red light outside of Lake View High School on a Sunday morning.

January 10, 2015. 2400 W. Montrose (View HERE)—The two-car motorcade runs a red light outside of Welles Park. A senior citizen waits patiently for the mayor to pass before stepping into the crosswalk.

January 14, 2015, 8700 S. Lafayette (View HERE)

December 19, 2014, 4700 W. Irving Park Road. (View HERE)
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PAINTING THE TOWN: Cops, Residents Eye Gang Tag Surge In Nearby Lake View

Stop signs on three corners at Southport and Belle Plaine are tagged
"SGD" by the Spanish Gangster Disciples street gang.
A fresh surge of graffiti placed by rival gangs in the area of Lake View High School has residents and police concerned about possible gang tensions in the area.

Attention was drawn to the neighborhood in November after a shooting incident between Spanish Gangster Disciples and at least one Latin Eagle.

A huge Latin Eagles tag sprawls along this building, with LVHS
and its Divvy bike rack just steps away. This tag reads
"SGDK," which stands for "Spanish Gangster Disciples Killer"
It's accompanied by the Latin Eagles' traditional epsilon-like "E."

While LVHS administrators are trying to distance the school from the activity, students are certainly being affected.

One building directly across from LVHS's Divvy bike rack is emblazoned with a 10-foot long Latin Eagles tag. Another LE tag faces the school directly from the same building.

But police tell CWB that they aren't sure what to make of the new tagging spree.

With LVHS in the background, this
stop sign has been claimed by both
Latin Eagles and rival SGDs.
Cops haven't found active bangers living in the neighborhood or among currently-enrolled LVHS students. But, the school and the surrounding area has a rich gang history, and one working theory is that former students may be involved.

19th district leadership is said to be focusing on ensuring that any gang resurgence is kept in check. Units are being been placed on "graffiti missions" in the area.

Local residents have told CWB that local Alderman Ameya Pawar's office has been quick to handle reported tags, with some being removed same-day.

Nonetheless, one longtime neighborhood resident tells CWB that "this is the biggest surge of [graffiti] that I've seen."

A pitchfork, likely the work of SGDs.
Another resident reported to us that all of the fresh tagging was done last week.

"I sent the images to Alderman Pawar’s office, and they were very responsive.  Graffiti Busters has been out, and new stop signs are supposed to be installed today."

CWB took a walking tour with a local resident Monday evening and again Tuesday afternoon. The volume of tags is pretty remarkable.

We took so many pictures—and a reader sent us several more—that we thought we'd share them and help decode their meanings.

Here you go:

SGDK—Spanish Gangster Disciple Killer—is probably the work of a rival Latin Eagle. This particular tag
has been in place since at least October 2014, as it is visible on Google Street View. 3900 block of Greenview.

A montage of tags utilizing the Latin Eagles' primary mark: An epsilon-like "E."
The tag is often accompanied by 3 dots as seen top left.
Top Right: This tag, which faces LVHS, has the E accompanied by a
pitchfork with its tines bent down. The "inverted" pitchfork is a sign of
disrespect to the Spanish Gangster Disciples gang, which uses a 3-pronged
pitchfork as one of its symbols. Bottom: This tag at Southport and Belle Plaine was removed yesterday.
Stop signs on 3 of the 4 corners at the same intersection are tagged by rivals.

Here's a fun one in the 3900 block of Ashland. Spanish Gangster Disciples originally tagged this garage door with "SGD," placing a 3-pronged pitchfork inside the "D." Then, a rival gang—probably Latin Eagles—came along and added the "K" making it "Spanish Gangster Disciples Killer." The LEs also added an inverted pitchfork over the SGD's upright one.

A third gang in the mix is the Latin Kings. We did not see any tags that were placed by LKs, but we did run across some tags that disrespect them. Left: A simple "KK"—standing for "King Killer"—adorns a utility pole; Middle: The Latin Kings use a 5-pointed crown as one of their key symbols, Here, a rival gang inverts the crown as a sign of disrespect. Notice the upright three-pronged pitchfork that's jammed into the crown? That's a good indication that this tag was the work of SGDs. Right: A modest "KK" is seen at a construction site in the 3900 block of Ashland.

Textbook Latin Eagles tags in the 3900 block of Janssen. There's an LE followed by a 3-pronged pitchfork with its tines bent down, and the trademark "E" with three dots above.
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Monday, January 26, 2015

FREEZE FRAME: Victim Takes Pix Of Get-Away Car, Tells Story

A robbery victim took this picture of an older model RAV4 get-away car in  Roscoe Village Saturday.
Targeted in a Roscoe Village robbery this weekend, a North Center man managed to take a picture of the offenders' getaway car as they circled the block after jumping him.

The victim, who has asked to remain anonymous, wrote to CWB Monday in the hopes that "it helps get some of these guys off the streets."

Here is the man's story:
The actual attack occurred on Paulina between School & Melrose - a block and a half north of Belmont.  I was completely blindsided and tackled from behind by two men yelling to give up my money, the other men were in the RAV4 that soon picked them up and sped away…A gentleman in a Jeep (cut-off by the RAV4) stopped to see if I was okay.  
I headed toward Belmont, encountered a girl walking solo north on Paulina... and advised her not to head that direction alone as I had just been jumped a block up. 
As she turned back to find a friend at The Pony, the RAV4 sped around the corner from Belmont - with the occupants screaming at bystanders at the bus stop, etc.  It turned on to Paulina and headed [north] This is the point in which the photos were taken (both attackers were among the occupants in the car).
To clarify, the car did not circle around prior to the attack [as we previously reported]... it was afterwards. 
At that point, I called CPD, and was surprised in the quick response - probably due to the events from [Wednesday evening].
First responding officers were in an unmarked Explorer, who saw the photos and immediately headed North in pursuit.  Two additional CPD cruisers arrived shortly thereafter.
The victim did not file a report and we asked him point blank if he'd been discouraged from doing so by responding officers. He said no:
I wasn't discouraged at all from filing a report.  It was a personal decision not to file - since no property was taken.  They asked a couple of times if I wanted to... or, if I'd at least serve as a witness if anyone was apprehended.
Police reported the offenders' descriptions to be be 5 or 6 black and Hispanic men.

According to police in the neighboring 20th district, about 30 minutes after the man was jumped in Roscoe Village, a 7-Eleven store in the 1700 block of Foster was robbed at gunpoint by a group of 4 black and Hispanic men. The store is located 3 miles due north of the Roscoe Village scene.
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A MATTER OF TRUST: Police Department Says Manpower Nearing All-Time Low, Aldermen Claim Double-Digit Gains

L: Cappleman; R: Tunney
Despite being provided irrefutable proof that our 19th district continued to shed police officers last year, the two aldermen who represent our neighborhood continue to falsely boast that manpower is up (thanks to them, of course).

The false statements of aldermen Tom Tunney (44th) and James Cappleman (46th) come as fresh police documents, reviewed by the Chicago Police Department Bureau of Patrol and acquired by CWB, show that our district lost 4 more officers in December, bringing the district’s manpower very close to its all-time low.

New Information

Produced by CPD and reviewed by its Bureau of Patrol,
this grid shows 19th district manpower levels each month since June 2014.
A total of 343 officers are currently assigned to the 19th district, that’s down from 347 last month, and down from the 345 who were assigned here in January 2014. Our current staffing level is just 3 higher than the district’s all-time low of the 340 officers assigned here last March.

Staffing is now a whopping 27% lighter than in October 2011.

False Claims

In response to an inquiry on Twitter last week, Cappleman wrote, “I fought for & got a net gain of 29 officers [in the 19th district during 2014]. We are slated for more this year as well.”

Tunney, at an aldermanic candidate forum last week, claimed that he pushed for and received a “net” gain of 22 officers last year.

Source: Chicago Police Department
And the minutes from the most recent Triangle Neighbors Association meeting show that Tunney told the organization that the “19th District is [sic] continues to work towards increased police force; 60 new officers were added to the midnight shift in 2014.”

Contrary to the aldermen’s claims, they did not secure more police officers for our neighborhood last year. Indeed, after they purportedly sought more officers, police manpower went down.

We reached out to the offices of both aldermen as well as to Cappleman’s campaign regarding the men's claims. None of them has replied. On Twitter, Cappleman stated that his numbers came from a conversation with the district commander. (Of course, he untagged us before posting that.)


The above graphic, released by Tom Tunney's office
on Friday, fails to show 18 thefts and one aggravated
battery that took place in his ward. A search of
the police department's online database (below)
reveals the missing crimes.
Tunney’s camp went a step further down the wrong information road in the alderman’s weekly newsletter on Friday.

In it, the alderman claimed to provide 44th ward crime information for the week of January 12 to 18. According to the newsletter, his ward experienced one robbery and two burglaries.

But a simple search of the Chicago Police Department’s online crime database shows that the 44th ward also had one aggravated battery and 18 thefts. Those categories show “zero” incidents in the alderman’s newsletter.

Straight Forward

CWB’s police staffing information comes directly from the Chicago Police Department via readers’ Freedom of Information requests.

The readers’ requests are straight-forward, seeking, “the number of sworn officers of all ranks assigned to the 19th police district” on the 15th day of every month. The staffing information is reviewed and provided by the department’s Bureau of Patrol.

Open Records

We have posted the department’s staffing documents for public review.
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

NEW YEAR, SAME HELMONT: Another Mugging On The Infamously Dangerous Strip

Everyone's favorite place to get mugged—Belmont Avenue between Halsted and Racine has struck for the second time this year.

A Boystown man was jumped and mugged there by two men Sunday morning. No one is in custody.

The victim, who lives nearby, told police that he was attacked at Belmont and Halsted around 4:15AM by two men who took his Macbook Air and iPhone 5s. Both offenders  were last seen running westbound on Belmont toward the CTA station.

Both offenders are described as black men in their 20’s, about 5’11” tall wearing black hats and dark clothing. (CPD case HY127904)

Last weekend, two people were beaten and mugged by men armed with a screwdriver outside of Alderman Tom Tunney's flagship Ann Sather restaurant at 909 W. Belmont.

Village Idiots

Roscoe Village, which hosted a dual-robbery and gunfight on Wednesday evening, was the scene of a good old-fashioned street robbery late last night.

A North Center man reported that a small group of men that had been following him down the street suddenly tackled him and tried to rob him at the corner of Belmont and Paulina around 11:50PM. As the attempted robbery unfolded, a silver Toytota RAV4 pulled up to act as the getaway car.

The victim said he had seen the vehicle circling the area before he was jumped.

No property was taken in the robbery attempt.

The offenders are described as 5 or 6 black and Hispanic men. They were last seen northbound on Paulina in the RAV4.
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UPDATE: Robbery Victim Meets Commander, Gets Action

Note: CWB's recent report on questionably-categorized crimes is HERE.
A Wrigleyville man who reported being jumped, beaten, and robbed by several men on School Street last Saturday, only to see his case get classified as a simple battery incident, sent us an update on the matter.

During a meeting with "very helpful" 19th District Commander Elias Voulgaris Tuesday afternoon, the man was told that a supplementary robbery report would be filed. Voulgaris also reportedly told the victim that he would ask detectives to review the case.

Troy Gueno, 20, of Logan Square, and 18-year-old Herbert “Herb” Robinson of University Village, have been charged with simple battery in the case. They have not been accused of robbery.

“Since I moved to Lakeview in 2009, I have been robbed one other time and caught a guy trying to break into my place,” the victim told us. “My fiancĂ© has been battered and robbed. Another time she was pick-pocketed. This city needs to do something quickly as it's becoming Gotham City in all respects but its name.”

Commander Voulgaris is widely considered to be one of the most approachable district commanders in Chicago. He regularly encourages anyone with concerns or questions about police matters to contact him directly. His email address:
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Saturday, January 24, 2015

AN IMPERFECT GENTLEMAN: CTA Warns Of Pickpocket On North Side Red Line Train

The CTA and Chicago Police have issued an alert to warn riders of a pickpocket who operated on a North Side Red Line train this week.

According to the alert, the man pictured above and below stole the woman's wallet from her purse as she prepared to exit a southbound train at Chicago Avenue around 1:30PM on Monday. After taking the woman's wallet, CTA says, the man returned to a seat on the train and exited at Lake Street.

Surveillance review by CTA found that the man boarded the train at Uptown's Wilson Avenue station.

Information about this incident or the suspect may be given to the CTA's 24-hour hotline: 312.745.4443 
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Friday, January 23, 2015

BUS-TED: Man Charged With Armed Robbery Aboard CTA Bus

A Kimar 911 steel 8 millimeter blank gun like the one
Hernandez is accused of brandishing.
A 20-year-old Portage Park man has been charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault to a transit employee in connection with a robbery onboard a #80 Irving Park bus in North Center Wednesday evening.

Prosecutors say Nathaniel J. Hernadez pointed an 8 millimeter blank pistol at a 46-year-old fellow passenger's head and took the man's Samsung Galaxy phone and wallet as the bus neared Irving Park and Damen.

(Cook Co. Sheriff's Office)
Hernandez is also accused of pointing the gun in the bus driver's face and ordering him to open the bus doors to allow Hernandez to escape.

Police arrested Hernandez a few minutes after the robbery and he was positively identified by "all victims and witnesses" who were on the bus, prosecutors say. Hernandez's gun was found under a dumpster in the 3900 block of Damen.

Bond is set at $300,000.
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