Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lincoln Park Gas Station Burglar Was Carrying 68 Packs Of Smokes, Cops Say

Melvin Smith (inset) stole dozens of packs of cigarettes from this Lincoln Park gas station, prosecutors say.
A Lincoln Park man who broke into a gas station and stole dozens of packs of cigarettes this month is charged with felony burglary, prosecutors say.

A witness reported seeing a man break into the gas station at 2670 North Lincoln around 12:30 a.m. on March 14. Arriving officers found a smashed window, a brick, blood on some shelving and “multiple empty cigarette shelves,” according to their report.

Cops stopped 57-year-old Melvin Smith nearby because he matched the witness’ description of the offender. Smith was holding a backpack, and his hand was bleeding, officers said.

The bag contained 68 packs of smokes, including Marlboros, Pall Malls, Capri Violets, and L&M Menthols, police said.

A judge set Smith’s bail at $75,000.

The May 14 break-in was the second time that Lincoln Park Gas had been burglarized in three weeks. A smash 'n' grab burglar took smokes from them on April 28, too.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube

After Crime Spree, Carjackers Ditch Ride Behind Lincoln Hall

Five men ditched a carjacked vehicle behind Lincoln Hall after committing a series of robberies | Google
A carload of armed robbery suspects bailed out of a carjacked vehicle and fled in nearby Lincoln Park late Tuesday night. No one is in custody.

Four to five men pulled off a series of robberies and then ditched the car around 11 p.m. behind Lincoln Hall, 2424 North Lincoln. The last hold-up took place in the 600 block of West Webster moments earlier, police said.

Victims reported that the offenders were armed with a handgun during the robberies.

Tuesday evening’s hold-ups bear a strong resemblance to a Sunday night mugging in Boystown. In that case, five men forced a victim to lie on the ground at gunpoint while they searched him for valuables near Halsted and Brompton.

The Lincoln Park offenders were described as black males—two in red hoodies, one in a black and gray shirt, one in a gray vest with a hoodie underneath, and one wearing a hoodie of unknown color, police said.

In Boystown, the gunman was described as a black man with dreadlocks who wore a black hoodie with dark pants that had blue and white writing on the side. He was armed with a silver handgun. The other robbers were described only as four black men, two of whom carried green drinking bottles.

Police have not yet connected the Boystown and Lincoln Park incidents.

You can support CWB's newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Neighbor Finds Cookbook Taken In Boystown Robbery — "I Found It While Walking My Dog!"

Well, here's a delicious dish.

Our Monday night report about a man who got held at gunpoint in Boystown while a group of robbers took all of his valuables—and his cookbook—sounded awfully familiar to a neighborhood woman.

“I’m pretty sure I found the man's cookbook!,” she told us via Facebook yesterday.”I found it laying on a tree stump as I walked my dog early Monday morning", she said.

“I just saw a really nice moleskin book sitting on the stump while waiting for my dog to pee. I opened it, and the pages were filled with recipes.”

She dropped the recipe book off at the 19th District police station after work Tuesday and cops are trying to reunite book and owner.

“At least the owner has all his hand-written recipes back. Hopefully, that means something to him,” the woman said. “Thanks for sharing the neighborhood news! I really appreciate knowing what's happening.”

You can support CWB's newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube

Man Charged With Halsted Mugging Is No Stranger To Robbery, Prison, Or Boystown

A collection of Edward R. Smith's mugshots | Chicago Police Department
Edward R. Smith, the 22-year-old charged with robbing a man on Boystown’s Halsted bar strip last week, is no stranger to being arrested, to robbery, or to prison, according to court records.

Back in 2012, he reportedly beat up and robbed a passenger on-board a CTA bus in the 3500 block of North Ashland. The judge gave him a gift in exchange for his guilty plea: Three years of probation instead of prison time.

Just four months later, Smith was arrested for shoplifting at Macy’s on State Street—that's not how probation is supposed to go—and he was sent off to serve a three-year prison term.

Released after serving a fraction of his sentence, Smith has been arrested four times in the past two years, according to Chicago police records.

Two of those times, he gave his home address as The Center on Halsted—-a massive LGTBQ service agency at 3656 North Halsted.

And one of those arrests was for battering another client inside the Center itself. Charges were dropped when the victim failed to appear in court.

Funny Story…Or not so funny, we suppose.

At a CAPS meeting last August, a resident asked why criminal arrestees list local service agencies such as the Center on Halsted as their “home.”

Officer Tom Walsh, who was leading the meeting, stated that he had been in the police district for many years and he had never seen the Center on Halsted listed as an offender’s home address.

A CWB Chicago editor in the audience rolled his eyes at that statement. Smith had used the Center as his home address twice already in 2016.

When Walsh is not working for the police department, he runs a private security firm. The firm received $137,850 from the Center on Halsted for security services in 2014 and another $136,793 for security services in 2015, according to the Center’s tax records. Last year’s tax information is not yet available.

Former Classmates Lead FBI To Serial Bank Robber

Hanson (left) admitted to three bank robberies, the FBI says | Facebook; FBI
A west suburban man is charged with robbing three North Side banks in six days this month, and he may be regretting his decision to get a new tattoo in April

34-year-old Eric Hanson admitted to robbing the banks after being taken into custody by the FBI at an Elk Grove Village motel on Saturday, according to an agent’s affidavit.

Hanson | Facebook
Hanson is charged with robbing the Byline Bank at 1401 West Belmont on May 13; the Byline Bank at 3401 North Western on May 16; and the TCF Bank at 4355 North Sheridan on May 18.

One of the bank tellers told cops about a tattoo of two "X"s behind the robber's ear.

Ultimately, it was the May 18th hold-up that did him in, according to the FBI.

While surveillance images from the first two robberies were poor, the TCF hold-up produced clear photographs that prompted two of Hanson’s former schoolmates to turn him in, according to prosecutors.

An agent checked out Hanson’s Facebook profile and quickly came across his April 20th post:

“Tattoo number 4” Hanson wrote about the two freshly-inked “X”s behind his left ear. “Life is great right now.”

Not for long.

Acting on a tip, FBI agents went to a northwest suburban Motel 6 on Saturday and knocked on Hanson’s door.

“Hanson invited myself and other agents into his hotel room, and I arrested him for bank robbery,” an agent later wrote.

The G-men recovered items from Hanson’s room that appeared on surveillance images of the robber, including a gray baseball cap, a White Sox hat, and sunglasses.

Back at FBI headquarters, Hanson waived his right to remain silent and freely admitted to robbing all three bank branches, an agent said.

You can support CWB's newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube

Monday, May 22, 2017

Man Held At Gunpoint While Robbers Pick Off His Valuables In Boystown—They Even Took His Cookbook!

The man told police he was forced to lie on the ground at gunpoint near Halsted and Brompton | Google
A man was forced to lie on the ground while being held at gunpoint as a gang of five thieves stripped away his valuables on a Boystown side street Sunday evening. No one is in custody.

The victim told police that he was near Halsted and Brompton around 9 p.m. when a man pulled out a gun and forced him to the ground. While one man held him at gunpoint, two others searched him and took his property while yet another two men served as lookouts.

Taken were the victim’s cell phone, cash, credit cards, keys, and a cookbook with his favorite recipes, according to police.

The gunman was black, had dreadlocks, and wore a black hoodie with dark pants that had blue and white writing on the side. He was armed with a silver handgun.

The other robbers were described only as four black men, two of whom carried green drinking bottles.

Gunmen Demand Lakeview Woman's PIN

Earlier on Sunday, a Lakeview woman reported being robbed at gunpoint by two men near Henderson and Ravenswood, police said.

The victim was near the 3300 block of North Ravenswood around 1 a.m. when the men walked up to her, pulled out a gun, and took her bright red backpack, which contained her phone and wallet. One of the men demanded the woman’s debit card PIN before they fled the scene, police said.

The offenders are described as two black men in their 30’s. One wore a light gray hoodie.

Both men sped off in a car that was waiting near Ravenswood and Henderson, the woman said.

You can support CWB's newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube

Verizon Store Robbed In Heart Of Lincoln Square

The Verizon store is located in the heart of Lincoln Square's commercial center | Google
Four men pushed a Verizon store employee to the floor during a robbery in the heart of Lincoln Square on Monday morning.

The offenders entered the store at 4752 North Lincoln around 11:25 a.m., shoved the clerk out of the way, told a customer that they had a gun, and then marched into the rear storage area where the shop's inventory is stored, police said.

They grabbed about 25 still-in-the-box iPhones and fled southbound on Lincoln Avenue, police said.

All four are described as young black men between 17- and 20-years-old wearing hoodies and shorts. One hoodie was red, another was blue, and a third was multi-color, according to a witness.

No weapon was seen during the hold-up, and no one was seriously injured.

Boystown CVS Robbed

A shoplifter pulled out an X-Acto knife to ward off a CVS Pharmacy employee who tried to stop him from shoplifting in Boystown Monday afternoon.

The offender stuffed a plastic shopping bag with cosmetics and made his way toward the exit at 3101 North Clark around 1:05 p.m.

After pulling out the knife, the thief fled the store in an unknown direction.

He’s described as a white male with tattoos on his neck. He stands about 5’7” tall, weighs about 150 pounds, had a mustache and was wearing a black baseball cap, a dark T-shirt, denim shorts, and white gym shoes.

You can support CWB's newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube

Uptown Carjacker Punches Woman During Monday Morning Heist

An armed man punched a woman in the face and took her car at gunpoint in Uptown around sunrise on Monday.

The woman's car looks similar to this 2013 Mazda CX5
The 27-year-old victim told police that the offender approached her in the 900 block of West Argyle a little after 5 a.m. and displayed a handgun.

After punching her in the face, he jumped into her car and sped off southbound in the alley behind Sheridan, police said.

Missing is the woman’s gray 2013 Mazda CX5. Its license plate begins with Z419, the woman said.

She described the offender as a short black man in his 30’s who was wearing a dark gray hoodie.

You can support CWB's newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Two Charged With Robbing Man During Manic Night In Boystown; Also—Boystown ATM Hijinks Continue

Smith (left) and Manning are charged with robbing a man on Boystown's Halsted Strip this week.
Two men are accused of robbing a man on Halsted Street Wednesday, part of a three-hour stretch of general mayhem along the Boystown Strip that CWB Chicago told you about on Thursday.

22-year-old Edward Smith and 20-year-old Kenneth Manning are both charged with robbery, according to court records. Smith currently lists a South Shore address, but on two previous arrests over the past year he gave his home as the Center on Halsted, 3656 North Halsted. Manning lists the Howard Brown Health Center in Uptown as his home address.

A 25-year-old man told police that he was walking along Halsted when Manning and Smith pushed him into an alley and robbed him around 3 a.m., prosecutors said.

The victim immediately reported the incident to passing police officers near Halsted and Roscoe. Other officers detained Smith and Manning moments later near Halsted and Belmont.

A judge set bail for Smith at $100,000. Manning is free on electronic monitoring.

The robbery was one of several incidents, including a series of street fights, that broke out along Halsted Street late Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

Boystown ATM Hijinks Continue

Williams | Cook Co. Sheriff's Dept
For the second time in two weeks, a passer-by’s report of suspicious activity near ATMs has led police to make an arrest in Boystown.

Cops raced to the MB Bank at 3179 North Clark early on May 7 after a witness thought he saw a group of men robbing someone at the bank’s ATM.

While no robbery victim was found at the bank, two men suspected of using an earlier robbery victim’s credit cards were taken into custody.

Timothy King, 25, and Jonathan Stokes, 22,  were charged with theft or lost or mislaid property.

A similar call from a concerned citizen resulted in another man being arrested early last Saturday—and, against all odds, the suspect lives on the same block as King and Stokes.

Police went to another the  Chase Bank at 3714 North Broadway around 2:20 a.m. after a 911 caller reported seeing a man repeatedly withdrawing money at the bank’s ATM while another man stood nearby—an apparent robbery attempt.

At the bank, cops encountered a Lakeview man who reported that 21-year-old Deondre Williams had taken his wallet and cell phone and then started using his debit and credit cards to withdraw $700 cash in three separate transactions, police said.

Cops found a zip bag containing cocaine in Williams’ possession during a custodial search, prosecutors said.

He’s charged with theft of lost or mislaid property and possession of cocaine.

King, Stokes, and Williams all live in the 7300 block of South Shore Drive, according to police records.

You can support CWB's newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Man Robs His 3rd North Side Bank Since Friday—And Here's What He Looks LIke

Now he’s robbed three banks since last Friday. But he’s still on the loose. And the FBI finally has a decent surveillance image of his face.

Around 4:15 this afternoon, the man who robbed two Byline Bank branches held up the TCF Bank branch that’s located inside Jewel-Osco at 4355 North Sheridan.

Shedding his typical Chicago sports team hats and Chicago-themed sweatshirts, the thief today wore a camouflage baseball hat and a long-sleeve blue shirt.

The offender is a thin white man with tattoos on his neck and hands who stands about 6’1” tall.

The FBI says he also robbed the Byline Bank at 3401 North Western at 9:10 a.m. on Tuesday as well as another Byline Bank at 1401 West Belmont around 9:50 a.m. on Saturday.

Surveillance images from both of the Byline hold-ups produced very low-quality photos of the robber. So, today's heist is somewhat of a blessing in that regard (unless you happen to be the robber).

The FBI is offering a reward for information that leads to the man’s arrest. The bureau’s Chicago office may be reached at 312-421-6700.

You can support CWB's newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube