Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Awaiting trial for robbing grocery store, woman's now accused of robbing another grocery store

Amarilys Del Rio | CPD
A Chicago woman who’s accused of robbing a Lakeview grocery store last week was free on bond at the time—awaiting trial for a similar robbery attempt of a grocery store in Bucktown, according to court records.

Jewel-Osco employees told police that 33-year-old Amarilys Del Rio of the Austin neighborhood entered their store at 3400 North Western around 2 a.m. last Friday and began stealing merchandise. When the workers confronted Del Rio at the store’s exit, a struggle broke out, and Del Rio said, “I’m going to stab you with my knife,” while displaying what may have been a nail file, police said. Del Rio spat in the face of a 59-year-old Jewel worker and headed toward the doors saying, “I am going to get my gun and pop the f*ck out of this place,” the employees reported.

Police caught Del Rio nearby in possession of a laser pointer, batteries, and a probiotic supplement, according to court records.

Prosecutors charged her with felony robbery, felony aggravated battery of a merchant, felony retail theft with a prior conviction, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Judge Mary Marubio ordered Del Rio held without bail.

Court records show that Del Rio was ordered held without bail last autumn after she was charged with two felony counts of aggravated robbery for allegedly threatening to stab employees who tried to stop her from stealing $1,247 worth of merchandise from Mariano’s, 2112 North Ashland.

Judge Travis Richardson later reduced Del Rio’s bail to $10,000, which allowed her to go free by posting a bond of $1,000. Bail in the November case was revoked by Marubio in light of the latest allegations against Del Rio.
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Judge sets bail at just $1,000 for man accused of seriously injuring Trump Hotel guard

Craig Echols is accused of battering two security guards at the Trump International Hotel & Tower. | CPD; Trump 
A man who seriously injured a Trump International Hotel & Tower security guard on Friday will be able to go free by posting a bail deposit of just $100 even though he was accused in November of beating a woman with a metal baseball bat.

Police said two hotel security guards—ages 61 and 26—intervened after 23-year-old Craig Echols began smoking in the lobby, damaging furniture, and drawing on a pillar with a permanent marker around 2:30 p.m. on March 15th. Echols then battered both guards, causing the older one to fall and suffer a broken finger, torn ligaments in his right knee, a fractured cheekbone, and facial trauma that required 17 stitches to close, according to court records.

Damage to the hotel lobby was estimated at $2,500.

Prosecutors charged Echols with two felony counts of aggravated battery of a peace officer, felony aggravated battery of a victim over age 60, and felony criminal damage to property. Judge Stephanie Miller set bail at $1,000 and ordered Echols to remain on electronic monitoring. He can go free by posting 10% of his bail amount.

Echols received the lenient bail terms despite skipping court dates after he was accused of beating a 39-year-old woman with a baseball bat in November, according to county records.

Police responded to Echols’ apartment building on Nov. 26th to handle a “battery-in-progress” call. Cops approached the apartment where the incident was reportedly unfolding and announced their presence.

At that point, a woman emerged from the apartment carrying a bloody baseball bat. Her face and head were covered with blood, cuts, and contusions, police said. The woman reported that Echols had beaten her with the bat. Echols—whose hands were bloody, according to police—countered that the woman swung the bat at him, so he disarmed her and struck her with it in self-defense.

The woman also alleged that Echols choked her about a week before the alleged bat incident, causing pain in her neck.

Echols was arrested, but the woman did not cooperate with prosecutors in the preparation of felony charges, police said. As a result, the state only charged Echols with two counts of misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor theft.

The woman’s lack of cooperation led the state to drop all charges against Echols on Jan. 17th.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Uptown: Double-shooting on Argyle leaves one man critical, second grazed

The men were standing in a group with the gunman outside these businesses on Argyle Avenue moments before the shooting began, police said. | Google
Two men were shot when a gunman opened fire outside of an Uptown restaurant on Tuesday evening. No one is in custody.

Witnesses said the two men were in a small group that was standing outside of Family House Restaurant, 1007 West Argyle, around 8:15 p.m. A man in the group then pulled out a handgun and began shooting as the rest of the group ran from the scene. One victim was critically injured, the second was grazed, according to police and witnesses.

Police said a 27-year-old man was shot in the chest, groin, both legs, and right arm. A 23-year-old man was grazed on his jaw. Both victims were being treated at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Witnesses reported hearing about six shots as the group broke up and its members ran from the area.

The critically-injured man was found outside an apartment building near Argyle and Sheridan. The other man was found a short distance away.

Officers who reviewed police surveillance camera footage said the gunman was a black man, possibly in his 20’s, who wore black pants and a black hoodie with a logo on the front. He was last seen running west on Argyle.
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CPD expresses no urgency after mob forces cop to release handcuffed suspect

A Chicago police officer was forced to release a handcuffed drug suspect on Sunday afternoon when a group of people surrounded the cop and implied that he would be shot if he did not let the man go.

But on Tuesday, the department was displaying no sense of urgency in addressing the issue or re-capturing the man who ran away with a pair of handcuffs still binding his wrists.

CPD’s Office of News Affairs confirmed the specifics of the incident but declined to release the name of the suspect who escaped because he was not in custody, there was no warrant for the man’s arrest,  and no investigative alert had even been issued for the escapee.

CWBChicago subsequently learned the 31-year-old man’s identity through a police source. The West Side resident has been to prison repeatedly for narcotics, most recently in 2010, according to state records. His identity was further confirmed via a police report that listed him as the “escaped arrestee.”

Scanner audio captured an officer’s account of what happened at the scene: “Ten people surrounded me, indicating that they had firearms. And one person pulled him away from me, holding his waist, indicating that he would use a firearm against me.”

Officially, the police department on Tuesday would say only that police officers saw a driver commit a traffic violation in the Austin neighborhood shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday and they conducted a stop of the vehicle.

“After he was stopped, the driver exited the vehicle and began to discard bundles of suspected narcotics to the ground,” the department said in a statement. “Officers were able to detain the subject, but after police began collecting the bundles of suspected narcotics, the offender began to struggle with [officers], thrashing his body around. Police attempted to subdue the offender, who began to kick and strike” the officers.

The department continued: “A crowd gathered around the police, some retrieving the discarded suspect narcotics, others approaching the officers, yelling at and threatening the police. Gunshots then were heard in close proximity to the incident, putting officers in further fear of their safety. The offender was able to make good his escape with the help of subjects from the crowd.”

CWBChicago contacted the police department’s chief spokesperson to learn more about the department’s efforts to capture the suspect and identify members of the group that allegedly threatened to kill the police officers. He did not respond to our email.
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Man gets four-year prison sentence for carjacking Tribune reporter on his 18th birthday

Noriyhea Evans (inset) has been sent to prison for carjacking the Tribune reporter (seated). CPD; Chicago Tribune
A man who “celebrated” his 18th birthday by carjacking the Chicago Tribune’s overnight crime reporter has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Noriyhea Evans and another man were celebrating Evans’ legal adulthood early on Dec. 4, 2017, when they approached a car in the parking lot of a Bridgeport Dunkin’ Donuts. The paper's 29-year-old crime reporter was sitting in the car, waiting for a story to break.

Police said Evans knocked on the car’s window and ordered the woman out of the car. Evans and another man then climbed into the Tribune-owned Chevy Malibu and sped away.

Two days later, police spotted Evans driving the stolen car the wrong way in the 4600 block of North Ravenswood. Evans and two juveniles were taken into custody after a short pursuit.

Last Thursday, Evans pleaded guilty to vehicular hijacking and received a four-year sentence from Judge James Obbish. Evans was also ordered to serve a concurrent four-year term for possessing a stolen motor vehicle and a concurrent two-year sentence for escaping from electronic monitoring. Evans received 478 days credit for time served. The plea deal also called for prosecutors to drop a felony unlawful restraint charge and for Evans to pay a fine of $807. He is expected to be paroled on October 16, 2020.
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Lakeview: Robbers take man's phone, car Tuesday morning

UPDATE 11:55PM—The victim's stolen vehicle was found parked late Tuesday morning in the Wicker Park neighborhood.
A man was jumped and robbed of his phone, computer, and car Tuesday morning in the Lakeview neighborhood. Police are trying to determine if the incident is related to a similar robbery that was reported about an hour earlier in West Town.

The Lakeview victim was walking in the 2900 block of North Greenview around 5:40 a.m. when two offenders emerged from a small vehicle, approached him with a handgun and announced a robbery. The man turned over his phone, wallet and car keys to the robbers who then used his keys to steal his red Buick Encore SUV and a laptop that was inside, police said.

Police said the vehicle, bearing a license plate that begins with AG69, was last known to be heading east on the Kennedy Expressway around 6 a.m.

According to the victim, the offenders were a Hispanic man and black man with dreadlocks.

A robbery with some similarities to the Lakeview incident was reported at 4:30 a.m. in the West Town neighborhood, according to Chicago police.

In that case, a 34-year-old man was walking in the 2200 block of West Ohio when four or five Hispanic men approached him. One offender pulled out a handgun with an extended magazine and announced a robbery. The group took the victim’s phone, wallet, and car keys and then used the keys to drive away with the man’s silver 2014 Toyota Camry, police said.

No one was injured in either robbery, according to police
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Weapons charges filed after gunfire erupts near *another* River North nightclub

Isaiah Ayala is facing a weapons charge, police said. | CPD; Google
Gunshots were fired near a River North nightclub early Sunday, just days after nearby Sound-Bar was shuttered by the city following a shooting that killed that bar’s doorman and injured its owner on March 8th.

Around 2:50 a.m. on Sunday, witnesses leaving a nearby nightclub reported hearing seven to 10 shots fired in the 400 block of North Orleans, police said. Officers later found shell casings in the street on Orleans.

A police spokesperson said witnesses reported seeing 32-year-old Isaiah Ayala of Aurora and another person get into a black Nissan Rogue that sped from the area moments after the shooting. No one specifically said that they saw Ayala firing shots, however, police said.

Officers in the Loop located the Nissan Rogue about five minutes after the shooting in the 300 block of West Randolph. Police searched the vehicle, recovered a handgun, and placed Ayala into custody, the spokesperson said.

Prosecutors charged Ayala with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Sunday’s gunfire was reported as River North Alderman Brendan Reilly (42) is renewing his calls for the Chicago Liquor Commission to wield a firmer hand with nightclubs and bars in the area.

Following the Sound-Bar shooting, Reilly said, “problem clubs, in aggregate, are degrading the quality of life in River North. Every weekend we witness criminal activity around these venues and most weekends fights are reported as well.”

The 18th (Near North) Police District assigns assets to focus on the neighborhood’s nightlife destinations, Reilly said, “but police resources are stretched thin at this time of night, with so many late hour venues.”

“I’m incredibly frustrated that the city’s ‘due process’ for problem liquor licenses protects club owners at the expense of neighbors.”
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Livery driver carjacked in River North

The victim reported being carjacked near a popular African restaurant. | Google
Two men carjacked a livery driver at gunpoint in the River North neighborhood on Monday evening, police said. No one is in custody.

The 37-year-old victim told police he was sitting in his black 2015 Chevy Suburban on the 200 block of West Walton when two offenders approached him around 9 p.m. One of the robbers pulled out a handgun and took the victim’s phone as they forced the man from the SUV. Both offenders then climbed into the vehicle and sped away westbound on Walton and then southbound on Franklin, the victim reported.

Police said the stolen car bears livery plate 9928LY. The victim described the offenders as two black men wearing ski masks. They stand 5’5” to 5’7” tall and weigh 130 to 140 pounds. One offender wore a gray hoodie and carried a silver handgun.
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Monday, March 18, 2019

Chicago cop union calls for feds to investigate prosecutor's actions in Smollett case

Jussie Smollett and Kim Foxx | Fox
The labor union that represents Chicago’s front line police officers is asking the Justice Department to investigate Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s involvement in the Jussie Smollett hate crime investigation.

Foxx recused herself late in the investigation, but only after she intervened in the case by asking Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn the investigation over to the FBI at the request of a Smollett relative and a former Obama administration official, according to newly-released emails and text messages.

Foxx and the Smollett relative were put in touch with each other by private attorney Tina Tchen, who served as chief of staff for First Lady Michelle Obama and as an assistant to President Barack Obama.

In a letter to John R. Lausch, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham wrote, “private attorneys are not allowed to interfere with ongoing police investigations, particularly at the request of private individuals associated with subjects being investigated by the police.”

Graham calls Foxx’s late-hour recusal from the case, “wholly insufficient,” telling Lausch that her conduct “merits a review by your office.”

“In order for Ms. Foxx to properly charge and try this case, her entire office should have recused itself and a special prosecutor been appointed,” Graham argues in the letter dated Friday and provided to CWBChicago over the weekend.

In an email on Feb. 1—just three days after Smollett reported the purported hate crime—Foxx wrote an email to Tchen: “Spoke to Superintendent Johnson. I convinced him to reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation.”

After receiving the same news from Foxx via text message later the same day, the unnamed Smollett relative replied, “OMG this would be a huge victory.”

“I make no guarantees,” Foxx responded, “but I’m trying.”

“Victory of what? For whom? Why?” Graham asks in his letter to Lausch.

The FBI never took control of the investigation into Smollett’s elaborate hate crime allegations, but the bureau has been leading a separate federal investigation of a threat letter laced with white powder that was mailed to Smollett about a week before he reported being attacked. The powder was found to be crushed acetaminophen, according to Chicago Fire Department testing cited in a CPD report.

CWBChicago's previous reporting in the Jussie Smollett case may be found here.
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Sunday, March 17, 2019

"Arrest Me, I'm Irish": St. Pat's revelry sparks at least 20 arrests in Wrigleyville, 10+ Downtown

A moment in Grant Park on Saturday. | Patrick Anenen
At least 20 people were arrested in connection with St. Patrick’s revelry in Wrigleyville and Boystown from midday Saturday to early Sunday. And at least 10 more were arrested in connection with the city’s official celebration downtown. Those are conservative estimates by CWBChicago’s editors based on initial police reports and CPD radio traffic. The final arrest numbers, which will be determined after court records are reviewed in the week ahead, are likely to be higher.

The spike in arrests around the Wrigleyville area comes after four years of steady reductions in arrests during the annual Irish blow-out. Some on-duty officers called planning for this year’s event—which traditionally relies heavily on a private security force employed by local bars—to be a “washout” and “a total failure.”

Downtown’s arrest count is up from last year’s total, too. CWBChicago did not maintain downtown arrest counts prior to the 2018 St. Pat’s celebration.

CWBChicago will post a final run-down of arrests and comparisons to previous years later this week.

That's not how those are supposed to be used. | Patrick Anenen
Now, our annual run-down of a few interesting calls that went out over police radios during yesterday's festivities.

8:15AM — In a sign of things to come, downtown’s St. Patrick’s Day police radio band crackles to life with an officer running a reveler’s name during a street stop. Officer: “Last name is Weed. Like, she’s smoking Weed...”

8:29AM — Woman is robbed outside the Renaissance Hotel. Suspect arrested nearby. CWBChicago editors ruled against including the offender as a St. Pat’s-related arrest until more details are learned from the arrest report. (If the ruling is reversed, he will go down as the earliest arrest of any St. Pat’s incident in our archives.)

10:00AM — In Wrigleyville, an officer says issuing tickets for drinking on the public way is “like shooting ducks in a barrel out here” as she issues two more citations at Clark and Eddy.

10:33AM — They’re climbing the trees in Grant Park.

10:34AM — “Uh…He’s, uh, he’s off the tree.”  Another angle:

And, he can still stand up:

10:35AM — First arrest in Wrigleyville. Man is picked up on a warrant during a street stop at Addison and Sheffield.

10:58AM — Because police are checking bags near the parade route, “kids” are drinking and partying closer to Michigan Avenue.

Some partiers avoided the police checkpoints, according to police. | Patrick Anenen
12:11PM — First arrest downtown. Offender taken in for battering a 26-year-old woman at Jackson and State. Ambulance whisks the woman way.

12:27PM — “We are not going to send officers into those ‘climbing the tree calls.’ It’s too densely populated there. Record it for the log, but we’re not going in there,” CPD deputy chief says.

12:55PM — In Lakeview: “Citizen reports you have a male out front drinking beer and making facial gestures.”

1:30PM — Jackpot!  Three arrested at 400 North Michigan after fighting with police.

"Want to go out for more drinks?" "I dunno. I'm kinda on the fence." |  @SummerofGus1
1:36PM — Lincoln Park Alderman Michele Smith has called 911 to complain about a large party in the 900 block of West Dickens. Officer: “Those parties gonna be going on all day.”

1:46PM — 3800 block of Lakewood: “Disturbance mental. Male, white, 30, long sleeve shirt, vest, laying on the caller’s doorstep having a conversation with himself.”

1:59PM — Three more arrested downtown. Outside the Congress Hotel this time. Charged with fighting and breaking out the hotel’s windows.

2:06PM — Officer: “Do you have a description of this” lost female?
Dispatcher: “She’s a drunken female who claims to be a college student.”
Officer: “There are a lot of those around here today.”

3:09PM — Male caller says the valet stole his wife’s wallet from their car. 100 block of North Wabash.

3:15PM — Officer requests an ambulance for “two females, mid-20’s throwing up all over the place” at 355 East Grand.

4:10PM — “Older male white, bald, green shorts, is urinating in the middle of the street” at Montrose and Clark.

4:20PM — Biggest arrest of the day. Five men and women are hauled in after a fight at Murphy’s Bleachers in Wrigleyville.
Even CPD's "big scary bus" wasn't enough to counter Saturday's nonsense in Wrigleyville. | @the1stMikeC
4:44PM — Caller says a female got into his car at Clark and Barry and she’s demanding that he take her home. He has an Uber sticker in his window, but he’s not in service, and she refuses to get out.

4:45PM — A group of people throwing “beers and other items” from the 12th floor. Wells between Erie and Superior.

5:36PM — “A highly intoxicated white male wearing a large styrofoam sombrero” is lying down in the middle of Grand and State.

6:03PM — Whoops! Remember that call about the wife who had her wallet stolen by a valet in the 100 block of North Wabash three hours ago? The dispatchers forgot to assign that call to anyone. “Do you think they are still there?”

6:52PM — Back in Lakeview, a 911 caller reports that there is an unknown man living inside his green Jeep.

7:52PM — “Criminal trespassing at the Red Line Addison.” CTA reports that a black male in a green jacket was riding on top of the train when it pulled into the station. There’s also an earlier call from a witness who saw him on top of the train as it pulled out of the Belmont stop.

9:24PM — 911 caller says three men are trying to beat him up. “The call-taker can hear him saying “please, please” as people beat him and he screams for help. Call taker is trying to get an address from him.

Two ambulances roll into Wrigleyville to mop up some more nonsense. | @The1stMikeC
11:23PM — Neighbors report a party so large, that people are directing traffic for arriving revelers. 2458 North Clybourn. (The same house where an AirBnB party had a 6-hour standoff with a SWAT team last week.)

1:48AM — A call of very loud music and dancing in the streets at 2458 North Clybourn.

2:12AM — In Wrigleyville, “Jeremy states that an intoxicated male white in his 40’s slapped him on his butt in front of Sluggers.”  He wants a report for criminal sexual assault.
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