Monday, December 17, 2018

Streeterville: Plan to move Dave & Buster's to Water Tower Place is focus of Tuesday meeting

Part of the gaming floor at Dave & Buster's current location, 1030 North Clark. | Dave & Buster's
A proposed relocation of Dave & Buster’s River North location to a sweeping space inside the Water Tower Place shopping mall will be the focus of a community meeting in Streeterville on Tuesday evening.

Currently located at 1030 North Clark Street, Dave & Buster’s would quadruple the size of the outlet’s gaming, dining, and drinking space to nearly 40,000 square feet, if approved.

Tuesday’s meeting in the Lake Shore Park Field House, 808 North Lake Shore Drive, will begin at 6 p.m. with Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd) and the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) in attendance along with representatives from Water Tower Place and Dave & Buster’s.

Hopkins said in an email that the meeting will “allow residents to learn about the venue's plan of operation and to discuss approval of Dave & Buster's liquor license transfer between the locations.”

Water Tower Place and the nearby neighborhood have been overrun with sometimes-violent mobs of youths, especially during the spring and summer months. Security plans for introducing a massive video gaming arcade to that atmosphere will be of particular interest to some local residents.

A move to the iconic Mag Mile mall “would have a significant impact on the Water Tower experience, so we just felt that the community needed to weigh in on this, especially since we’re adding a liquor license where one currently does not exist,” Hopkins told Crain’s Chicago Business earlier this month.

Crain’s also reported that Hopkins was not convinced that Dave & Busters would be a good fit for Water Tower Place. “I’m skeptical that it is, but I’ll keep an open mind until the process plays out."

In an email to constituents on Monday, Hopkins invited anyone who cannot attend Tuesday's meeting to send questions to his office.  “[We] will make sure your questions and comments are addressed," he said. Using the topic "Dave & Busters Question," inquiries may be emailed to Hopkins' office at
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"Shoot him! Shoot him!": On parole for a month, man's charged with armed robbery of Loop Macy's

Otis (inset) was arrested outside the Macy's flagship store on State Street. | CPD; Natasha Jelezkina on Flickr
One month after being released from prison where he served time for robbing a man in River North, 20-year-old Deshawn Otis encouraged his accomplice to shoot a Macy’s security guard in the head during a robbery on State Street last week, according to police and court records.

Macy’s security told police that Otis was part of a shoplifting crew that took men’s merchandise into a changing room, hid it under their own clothing, and then exited the store without paying around 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11th. Store security guards confronted the thieves outside the store on the State Street sidewalk.

That’s when one of the offenders pulled out a handgun and pointed it at a 32-year-old guard’s head.

“Shoot him! Shoot him!” Otis allegedly screamed to the armed man. The security guards backed away and the gunman did not fire any shots, police said.

Otis and the gunman then began picking up stolen merchandise that had been dropped on the sidewalk and ran north on State Street, prosecutors said. A police officer who had been tipped off about a man with a gun on the sidewalk caught Otis moments later. The gunman escaped.

Officers who processed Otis at the local police station said they found him wearing a white jumpsuit with a Macy’s price tag still attached under his outer layer of clothing.

Otis is charged with Class X felony robbery with a firearm and retail theft. Judge Mary Marubio ordered him held without bail. The Illinois Department of Corrections has moved to revoke Otis’ parole.

State records show that Otis was released from prison on November 8th after he served half of a four-year sentence for trying to rob a man near the Magnificent Mile in November 2016.

Prosecutors in that case said Otis pulled a box cutter on a 61-year-old man outside of the Lawson House Apartments at 30 West Chicago and said: “give me a dollar before I cut you.” The victim alerted police who recovered a box cutter and took Otis into custody.

On July 13, 2017, Judge James Obbish sentenced Otis to a four-year prison term. After receiving Illinois’ standard 50% sentence reduction and credit for 247 days spent in jail awaiting the outcome of the case, Otis was released on Nov. 8, 2018—the second anniversary of the hold-up attempt.
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Lakeview burglary alert issued — one block struck 3 times

Approximate locations of the burglaries included in Monday's alert
Chicago police are warning about a spike of burglaries the Wrigleyville and Boystown neighborhood. The surge appears to be part of an overall increase in robberies across the east end of Lakeview since mid-October.

In a community alert issued Monday, police said they have identified a burglary pattern in which one or more intruders enter victims’ residences through unlocked doors or by forcing doors or windows open. Once inside, valuables are taken from the home.

Detectives typically issue a community alert when they believe a series of crimes are the work of a single person or group.

Break-ins linked to the pattern have been reported in:
• the 900 block of West Cornelia between Nov. 28 and Dec. 2
• the 3200 block of North Kenmore on Dec. 1 or Dec. 2
• the 800 block of West Cornelia on the evening of Dec. 6
• the 900 block of West Cornelia between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 7
• the 3400 block of North Lakewood between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 11
• the 3300 block of North Kenmore on Dec. 15 or Dec. 16
No description of the burglar was offered in the police alert.

Anyone with information about the burglaries may contact Area North detectives at 312-744-8263 regarding pattern P18-N-323.
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Man fatally struck by train at Belmont station identified

A 24-year-old man who was struck by a train Monday morning at the Belmont Red Line station has been identified as 24-year-old David Oakley, according to a city source and Chicago police.

Shortly before 8 a.m., Oakley appeared to intentionally jump in front of an oncoming southbound Red Line train, according to witnesses.

Witnesses reported that Oakley was standing near the north end of the sheltered platform when he apparently jumped into the train's path at 7:50 a.m. Firefighters rescued Oakley from under the train's third rail car and he was transported to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in critical condition. He was later pronounced dead. Police were conducting a death investigation.

An ambulance was also summoned to treat the conductor of the train that struck Oakley.

Train traffic was stopped or partially-operating until full service resumed around 10 a.m., according to the CTA.

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Alert: Afternoon robbery crew working Lincoln Park streets

Approximate locations of six robberies listed in a CPD community alert.
A group of robbery offenders has struck repeatedly on a two-block stretch of Burling Street in Lincoln Park over the past month, police said. The same crew is suspected of robbing at least three other people on nearby side streets during the same time period.

According to a community alert issued by Chicago police, the robbers are all males in their mid-to-late teens who strike during afternoon and evening hours. The offenders approach their victims on the street and either grab the victim’s cell phone or take it by force.

Police typically issue community alerts when they believe a series of crimes are the work of a single person or group.

Three of the robberies have been reported on North Burling Street near Oz Park and Lincoln Park High School on Nov. 17th in the 2200 block of North Burling Street, and on Dec. 7th and Dec. 11th in the 2000 block of North Burling Street. Other incidents were reported in the 1600 block of North Clybourn on Nov. 27th; the 300 block of West Concord on Dec. 10th; and the 900 block of West Fullerton on Dec. 12th, police said.

In the Dec. 10th case on Fullerton, a woman reported that she was pushed and robbed by a man who then fled through a gateway on Fremont Street. The offender was described as a black male in his 20's who stands 6-feet tall. He was wearing a jacket and acid wash jeans, according to a police report.

The community alert offers a general description of the suspects: one to four black males who stand 5’7” to 6’1” tall and weigh 140-180 pounds.

Anyone with information about the crimes or the suspects may contact Area Central detectives at (312) 747-8380.

Another Robbery

A woman was robbed late Saturday night in the 2600 block of North Burling by four men who jumped out of a passing car. The men approached the woman around 11:30 p.m. and took her purse by force. They then returned to the vehicle and were last seen heading southbound. The robbers were four black men in black and gray jackets who occupied a small, dark gray four-door car. No one is in custody.
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"Dent repair" scammers targeting drivers on North Side

Heads up, car owners. It appears that one of Chicago’s tried-and-true scams has regained popularity with local criminals: dent “repair.” If you’re not careful (or worry too much about what scam artists may think of you), it’s easy to fall into into their trap.

Here’s how it works: You’re out minding your own business, maybe leaving a grocery store or the gym, when a vehicle pulls up real close to yours. Then, someone quickly jumps out of the other car and starts buffing on your car without even asking.

Some "dent filler" left by scammers in Lincoln Park. | Provided
Quickly, another occupant of the car walks up and strikes up a conversation. They will almost always try to draw a connection by asking if you remember them from the car dealership (they see the dealer name on your license plate frame or on a dealer logo on the back of your car). Other times, they’ll pretend to have “just finished” working on another car of someone you may know. If they see you walk out of a gym, they might say they just “fixed” so-and-so’s car. “You may know her. She’s taking a class in the gym over there.”

That’s what happened to one Lincoln Park resident in November, the victim’s boyfriend told us. “She said it happened so quick, they marked her, and used our dealership to start a convo: ‘Hey, remember me from ‘Nissan Autobarn’?”

The fast-talking guy may say that he and his buddies work for a real car dealership, but they’re trying to make some money on their own to start their own business (or pay for their kids’ toys for Christmas).

Notice that through all of this, they don’t give you a chance to say “no” to anything.

Scammers "fixing" a dent.

Long story short: The men won’t be doing any real repairs to your car. The most they will do is spread something they’ll call ”dent filler” on your car and tell you to leave it on for 48 hours. The “filler” is nothing but ordinary body wax. And you'll never hear from them again about the "follow-up appointment."

In fact, the odds are pretty good that the scammers will cause more damage to your car than you had before they arrived.

Another CWBChicago reader encountered a dent scam team in a shopping center parking lot.

“He insisted he would repair [a dent] while we shopped. I didn’t consent to the work, but when I came out, he had spread what he called ‘self drying was’ on the rust and scratches. He did pull a dent out.”

Then, the scammer demanded $500.

“I offered him $50 for the dent and agreed to meet him back at the store with the rest of the money after the ‘two hours necessary’ for the wax to dry,” the man said. “He became upset and demanded more money, even demanding that he could follow us to the bank.”

Your very best move is to get yourself and your car away from the men ASAP without engaging them. Lock yourself in your car.  Start moving your car out, if you can. If you’re blocked in, call 911 and tell them that you are trapped in your car by men who are threatening you and who are demanding money. Use your phone to take photos of the men, their vehicle, and their license plate. Video of their actions would be great, too.

Don't let them intimidate you. They'll try.

If you aren’t in your car when the men approach you, walk away and go somewhere safe to call the police. Stay there until the men leave or the police arrive.

Never allow yourself to be intimidated into going to an ATM for these hoodlums. Don’t even suggest issuing a check. Keep your purse zipped, your wallet tucked away, and give them nothing.

Truth be told, there is very little that the police can or will do about the scam itself. But threats toward you and any kind of unwanted physical contact with you are crimes that police can take action on if you sign a complaint.

In the case of the Lincoln Park woman who was confronted by scammers, she managed to drive away from the men. “They followed her for a bit,” but eventually went their own way, her boyfriend said.
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Lakeview: Cops say man was carrying gun in car "because it's Chicago"

Mark Valladay (inset) and the weapon that police said he had wedged next to his driver's seat. | CPD
Police say a Riverdale man who was found with a gun in his car during a traffic stop in Lakeview this week claimed to be carrying the weapon “because it’s Chicago.”

Officers pulled 25-year-old Mark Valladay over in the 1400 block of West Irving Park Road around 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 16th to issue a traffic citation, according to police records. When officers asked if Valladay had any weapons in the car, he allegedly pointed toward the glove compartment.

Police searched the vehicle and found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun wedged on the right side of the driver’s seat where Valladay “had immediate access” to the weapon, according to court records.

When cops asked Valladay why he had the gun he said he needed it for protection “because it’s Chicago.”

Prosecutors charged Valladay with felony unlawful use of a weapon. Judge Mary Marubio set bail at $1,500 which allowed Valladay to go free by posting a 10% bond of $150.
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Cops make more robbery arrests in Loop

Cops have arrested two men who had been sought in connection with separate robberies in and near the Loop.

Johnathan Rivera | CPD
• Johnathan Rivera, 35, probably would not be in police custody if he could control his fervent anti-smoking beliefs. Rivera was in the Harold Washington Library around 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 5th when he asked another man not to smoke inside the building, according to a police report. He then took a cigarette from the 48-year-old smoker’s mouth, a fight broke out, and Rivera headbutted the smoker in the mouth—knocking out the man’s front tooth and causing a deep laceration to his own forehead, police said.

During a police investigation of the smoking incident, officers learned that detectives had issued an “investigative alert” for Rivera in connection with a robbery in the New City neighborhood on July 4th.

Rivera was arrested and has been charged with battery for allegedly headbutting the man in the library and felony robbery for allegedly robbing the other man of a  watch and phone over the summer.

The battery victim and Rivera were both treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for injuries they suffered in the headbutt.

Judge Michael Clancy ordered Rivera held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Charles Jordan | CPD
• A Rogers Park man has surrendered to police after investigators asked him to come in for questioning about his possible connection to a robbery that occurred near Grant Park on Nov. 25th.

Police said the robbery victim identified Charles Jordan III, 49, as the man who struck him repeatedly and broke his left hand during the robbery in the 1100 block of South Michigan Ave. The victim, 33, told police he lost between $1,000 and $2,000 in the mugging.

Jordan is charged with felony robbery. Judge John Lyke set his bail at $10,000.
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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cops identify robbery pattern in Uptown, nearby Lakeview

Approximate locations of the five robberies listed in detectives' new alert.
Police say a robbery crew is responsible for mugging at least five people since Nov. 21st in a concentrated area of Uptown, Lakeview, and Ravenswood. A community alert issued by police said a small group of offenders is either approaching victims from behind or engaging them in conversation before battering and robbing them. The offenders have been armed with a handgun in some cases, police said.

Detectives typically issue community alerts when they believe that a series of crimes are the work of a single individual or group.

Here are the dates and times of the five robberies included in the alert along with CWBChicago’s original reporting for incidents, if available:
• 4500 block of North Ashland at approximately 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 21st 
An Uptown woman was robbed of her car keys and cell phone in an alley between the 4500 blocks of North Paulina and North Ashland. The woman suffered facial injuries from a man who implied that he was armed.  She described the man as being black, over 6-feet-tall, and wearing an olive green hoodie with black pants. He was last seen heading southbound and then westbound.
• 1300 block of West Sunnyside at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 28th 
An Uptown man reported being attacked and robbed at gunpoint by a group of people. One of the offenders pulled out a gun as others hit him from behind, the man reported. After taking the man’s phone, the group fled eastbound on Sunnyside. The offender with the handgun was a tall black male who wore a red hoodie, according to the victim.
• 4600 block of North Ashland at approximately 8 p.m. on Nov. 28th
No further information is immediately available. The incident was not reported until Nov. 30th, according to city records.
• 4500 block of North Ravenswood between midnight and 2 a.m. on Dec. 2nd 
No further information is immediately available. The incident was reported several hours after it unfolded, according to city records.
• 1100 block of West Wilson at approximately 2:40 p.m. on Dec. 10th 
A woman reported that a man threw her down, spit in her face, and stole her phone near the Wilson Red Line station. Several witnesses reported seeing the robbery take place moments after a group of men flashed gang signs and began fighting outside of a nearby convenience store. The primary offender was described as a black male between 18- and 20-years-old who stands 5’7” tall. He was wearing a black coat and was last seen heading eastbound on Wilson.
Anyone with information about these cases may contact Area North investigators at 312-744-8263 regarding crime pattern P18-N-313.
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Cops: Fake contractors and bogus city workers continue to burglarize homes on North Side

A burglary ruse in which thieves pose as city workers or contractors to gain entry to homes is the focus of a new community alert from Chicago police. CWBChicago first reported on the scam on Nov. 18th after incidents were reported in Lakeview and Roscoe Village.

Most recently, a Lincoln Park resident called police after a man posed as a contractor and asked for permission to enter their apartment to complete repairs on behalf of the landlord around 4 p.m. Monday in the 800 block of West Lill. The tenant wisely called their landlord first and learned that no work had been ordered.

And, according to the police department alert, similar incidents have been reported in the Albany Park, Irving Park, and North Park neighborhoods since Nov. 20th.

Police say it is typical for one member of the team to ask the resident to take them to a remote area of the building to access a phony repair site while other members of the team burglarize the victim’s residence.

The suspects are described as white and/or Hispanic men between 21- and 30-years-old who stand 5’6” to 5’10” tall and weigh 150-200 pounds. They have been seen using a beige-colored pick-up truck, police said.

Anyone with information about these crimes may contact Area North detectives at 312-744-8263 regarding pattern P18-N-310.
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