Thursday, July 19, 2018

Uptown: Woman Carjacked Thursday Afternoon, Car Later Escapes Police On South Side

The woman was carjacked near Kenmore and Buena on Thursday afternoon. | Google
Two men carjacked a woman of her Mercedes SUV in Uptown on Thursday afternoon, then managed to slip away from police who tried to pull them over on the South Side later in the evening, according to a police spokesman and a source.

Around 2:20 p.m., a 20-year-old woman was sitting inside her car in the 4200 block of North Kenmore. A man entered the SUV from the passenger’s side and ordered the woman to get out. Another man took the woman out by force, demanded her keys, got into the car, and drove away, according to police. The woman ran from the scene.

A 2016 Mercedes GLS. | Pinterest
About three hours later, officers encountered the carjacked Mercedes south of Guaranteed Rate Field. A pursuit began and one person was arrested when he bailed out of the SUV. Two other men continued on and escaped from the police dragnet, according to a police department source.

The stolen vehicle is a silver 2016 Mercedes GLS with a license plate that begins with N264. It was last seen heading southbound on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 95th Street.
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87-Year-Old Man Mugged In Lincoln Square, Police Say

An 87-year-old man was robbed here, near the corner of Rockwell and Agatite on Wednesday. | Google
An 87-year-old man was robbed of his wallet in Lincoln Square late Wednesday morning, police said. No one is in custody. The man was walking northbound in the 4400 block of North Rockwell around 11:40 a.m. when a man approached him from behind, grabbed his arm and pulled the victim. The robber then reached into the man’s pants pocket and took his wallet, police said.

A passer-by who found the victim located the man’s wallet nearby, but it had been stripped of about $40 cash, according to police.

The offender is described as a black man between 30- and 35-years-old who stands about 5’9” tall and was wearing a white shirt with dark shorts. He was last seen heading south on Rockwell, police said.


BOYSTOWN — A 31-year-old North Side woman told police that she was robbed of her phone by a group of people who approached her while she took a smoke break outside of Roscoe’s Tavern, 3356 North Halsted, early Thursday.

The woman said she was smoking when a group of men and women approached her and struck up a conversation around 1:30 a.m. Shortly after the group left the area in a car, the woman realized that her phone had been taken, police said.

No further offender information was available.

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Cops Recover 10 ATM Skimmers In The Past Month Across North Side, Downtown

Pieces of an ATM skimmer recovered in Lakeview this spring. | CPD
At least 10 more ATM skimming devices have been recovered by Chicago police since our last report on the data-sucking hardware on June 18th. Streeterville, River North, and Lincoln Park have each had multiple skimmers found over the past month.

Skimmers are small devices that criminals plant on ATMs to secretly capture users' banking information and PINs. After allowing the sneaky contraptions to collect data for a period of time, fraudsters return to the ATM, collect the skimmers, and then create counterfeit debit cards using the captured data.

Here’s the latest info: Tuesday, Byline Bank workers at 2 West Elm found a skimmer on their ATM, which faces State Street. Detectives recovered the device.

Skimmer parts removed from an ATM. | BDO
On Thursday afternoon, police were called to a Walgreens in North Center to recover a skimmer from the store’s ATM at 2301 West Irving Park Road. Other than banks, pharmacies have been the most popular locations for skimmer device placement in Chicago this year.

Also on Thursday, a skimmer was found on the ATM at Walgreens, 953 West Irving. It was the second skimmer found on that store's ATM this month, according to police records.

A police officer offered several suggestions to avoid falling victim to skimmers: “If you use an ATM in a bank after hours, you can use any card with a magnetic stripe to enter the vestibule. Use an expired card,” she said. “Then, before you put your real car in the machine, pull on EVERYTHING!! The keypad, the slot that you put your card in, etc. Nothing should come loose. If it does, call the police or alert the bank. Last but not least, cover your hand when you enter your PIN.”

If any part of the ATM feels loose or comes off in your hand, don’t use that machine.

Since our June 18th report, ATM skimmers have also been found in the following North Side and downtown locations:

June 17, 2018900 block of West Armitage AveBank
June 20, 2018300 block of South Riverside PlzBank
June 23, 2018400 block of East Illinois StDepartment Store
June 26, 2018800 block of North Clark StBank
July 4, 2018900 block of West Irving Park RdDrug Store
July 10, 2018400 block of East Ohio St
July 11, 2018400 block of West Armitage AveSmall Retail Store
July 11, 2018100 block of South Canal StConvenience Store

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lakeview East: Thief Had A Field Day In Lakefront High Rise

A neighbor in Lakeview East has shared images of a man who burglarized several areas of a lakefront high-rise building on July 12th.

The man seen here entered the building in the 3500 block of North Lake Shore Drive by posing as a traveler who was staying with a resident, according to a CWB reader. He carried a backpack and pulled luggage to complete the look—and to help him haul away booty, we suspect.

Once inside, he broke into a dry cleaner and stole cash, took packages from the receiving room, and tried to take money from a vending machine, the reader said. After that, the man broke into the building management office.

The suspect is described as a slender white male, about 35-years-old, with a heavy black tattoo from his right wrist to the elbow and a cross-like tattoo on the left bicep.

His hair is buzzcut or shaved from the base of his neck and up the sides. He had much longer hair on top. (Remember, long hair can be cut or shaved easily, so his “look” may have changed from what you see here.)

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Update: Divvy Bike Thefts Rage On — Four More Arrests As Ditched Divvies Are Found All Over Town

Andrew Coffey dug three stolen Divvy bikes out of the weeds under Brown Line tracks in Old Town last week. When he returned the next day, two bikes remained. The third had apparently been stolen. Again. | @CoffeyGrinds
It’s been quite a week since CWBChicago broke the news about a widespread theft problem that is affecting Chicago’s Divvy bike-sharing program. At least four more people were arrested in just three days last week for possessing stolen Divvy bikes in the Near North and Old Town neighborhoods.

On social media, people are finding Divvy bikes ditched all over town. On the roadside. On high-rise balconies. One man found three of the blue monsters tossed under the L tracks in Lincoln Park. All indications are that Divvy’s stolen bike problem is getting worse, not better.

Last week, Divvy cited a “recent series of thefts of bikes” from docking stations for a decision to install new “more tamper-proof lock mechanisms” systemwide. The statement followed an inquiry from CWBChicago about an apparent surge in thefts of the ubiquitous blue bikes.

The bikes are being stolen from docking stations across the city by thieves who have learned a simple way to compromise the locks that are supposed to keep the bicycles secured. Combined with the familiar tugging and pulling on bikes that thieves have been doing for years, Divvy now has a real problem on its hands with locks that are being actively and intentionally defeated.

Based on our research, Old Town, River North, and the Chicago Avenue corridor are sizzling hotspots where Divvy is plagued with problems.

A company spokesman declined to say how many thefts have been experienced systemwide or to compare this year’s theft statistics to previous years.

From left: Accused Divvy desperados Zafar, Johnson, Hamilton, and Appling. | Chicago Police Dept

More Arrests

In the course of three days last week, police made four more arrests for possession of stolen Divvy bikes in the Near North area—these are in addition to the four arrests we told you about last week:

• Mahammed Zafar, 22, of suburban Inverness was arrested for allegedly shoplifting at the Old Town Walgreens, 1601 North Wells, at 7:40 a.m. last Wednesday. As he was being placed in the squad car, Zafar allegedly told officers that the Divvy Bike sitting in front of the store was his—-that he found it in a skate park. A Divvy representative told officers that the bike had been stolen from a docking station without being paid for on July 9th. Zafar is charged with theft of lost or mislaid property, criminal damage to property, and shoplifting.

• Shaheed Johnson, 31, was stopped as he stood with a Divvy bike in the first block of East Chicago at 2:20 p.m. last Friday. Police said he “matched the description of an offender wanted for several Divvy bike thefts in the immediate area.” Johnson, police said, told them that someone gave him the Divvy bike he was holding. Divvy said the bike was stolen from a docking station on June 16th. Johnson is charged with theft of lost or mislaid property.

• Willie Hamilton, 44, was stopped for allegedly riding a Divvy bike on the sidewalk in the 100 block of West Division. Police say Hamilton told them that he did not rent the bike, but that he was on his way to return it. Divvy determined that the bike had been stolen from a docking station at 2:20 p.m. on July 9th. Hamilton is charged with theft of lost or mislaid property.

• Hakeem Appling, 24, was arrested for possessing an allegedly stolen Divvy in the first block of East Chicago at 8:45 p.m. last Wednesday. Once again, Divvy told police that the bike in question had been stolen from a docking station without being paid for. Appling is charged with theft of lost or mislaid property.

The City of Chicago is listed as the “victim” in all of the alleged thefts, not Divvy. That would appear to indicate that taxpayers are losing $1,200 with every stolen Divvy that does not find its way home.

Easter Eggs

Just two days after our story ran, North Side resident Andrew Coffey was out and about in Old Town. Then—Whaddya know!—Coffey found not one, not two, but three Divvy bikes tossed into the weeds under the Brown Line.

Coffee tagged Divvy in a tweet with the bikes’ location. He returned the next day. Two bikes were still there. One had apparently been stolen again. “I haven’t been back to look” since then, Coffey said on Wednesday.

Chicago social media is brimming with stolen Divvy sightings:

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No Charges For "Challenged" Man Who Brought Replica Handgun And Knife Into Courthouse (Sorry, Judge Claps)

Associate Judge Joseph Claps bends over to pick up his fallen handgun in the courthouse lobby at 26th and California on July 3, 2018.  | Cook County Sheriff's Office
A Cook County judge who is accused of bringing a handgun into the criminal courthouse at 26th and California on July 3rd is due in court today. When he’s done, he may want to give the sheriff who charged him a jingle to discuss some enforcement inconsistencies that CWBChicago has learned about.

Just before noon on July 3rd, Associate Judge Joseph Claps was walking out of the criminal courthouse with a jacket over his arm. Video shows him walking through the main lobby when a gun apparently falls from his suit coat and onto the floor. Claps picked it up and continued on his way.

A sheriff’s deputy reported the incident to a supervisor and criminal charges were filed on July 6th.

Claps is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, but no one is allowed to have firearms in the courthouse, according to the sheriff’s office. Claps was re-assigned to “non-judicial duties” on July 11th, and he will remain on that assignment at least until the gun case is resolved.

The branch courthouse at 2452 West Belmont | NBC Chicago
Then, there is this: On the exact same day that Claps dropped his gun in the courthouse lobby, another man tried to enter the Cook County courthouse at Belmont and Western with a fake gun and a pocket knife. He was not charged with anything.

Less than two hours after Claps fumbled his firearm, the unidentified man walked into the courthouse at 2452 West Belmont to see when his next court date was, according to a sheriff’s office spokesperson.

Deputies working the security checkpoint found “a cap gun and a small pocket knife” in the man’s possession, according to the sheriff’s office. Rather than charge the man with trying to bring the items into the secured area, “deputies advised he could not bring those items into the courthouse and to take them home," the spokesperson said.

“There were no charges to bring under these circumstances,” the sheriff's office said, adding that “the individual appeared to have some mental challenges.”

We’ll see how Judge Claps fares in court on Thursday….and wonder why he, too, wasn’t told to just take his contraband home.

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Drive-By Paintball Shootings Strike Late Night Bar-Goers In Boystown, Lincoln Park

Police on-scene after the incident at Charlie's in Boystown. | Provided
Patrons of two late night bars—one in Boystown, the other in Lincoln Park—were fired on with paintball guns by someone in a passing car early Wednesday. No serious injuries were reported.

The front doors of Charlie's after the incident. | Provided
About six people were standing outside of Charlie’s, a late-night Boystown bar at 3726 North Broadway, when a car with four male occupants drove by shortly after 2 a.m., according to witnesses. Someone in the vehicle began firing paintball pellets that plastered the bar’s front door in orange splats before the gray four-door sedan sped away northbound on Broadway.

“I had just walked in, and heard a strange noise that sounded like rocks hitting the windows,” a patron said.

Thirty minutes later, the same thing happened at Frank’s, a late-night bar at 2503 North Clark in Lincoln Park. Three people who were standing outside the bar smoking reported being struck by projectiles, though none was seriously injured. Witnesses at Franks thought the vehicle was a brown Chevy Caprice with tinted windows.

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Police: Four Homes Burglarized In One Day Across Lincoln Square, North Center, Uptown

Approximate locations of four burglaries listed in today's police alert.
Four homes in the Town Hall Police District were burglarized last Friday and police believe the cases are connected, according to a newly-released community alert. Homes were struck in the Lincoln Square, North Center, and Uptown neighborhoods according to the police department’s press release.

The burglar entered homes by using force and also by going through unlocked doors.

Police said the suspect is male, white, 5’10” to 6-feet tall, and 150 to 170 pounds.

The break-ins occurred on July 13th at the following locations and times:
• 4400 block of North Wolcott at approximately 7:15 a.m.
• 4600 block of North Rockwell at approximately 11 a.m.
• 4200 block of North Lincoln between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
• 4500 block of North Greenview around noontime
Police encouraged residents to pay attention to suspicious people, especially if they are loitering. Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to call Area North detectives at (312) 744-8263.

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Mistaken Identity: Cops Hope For Final Tip To Solve 3-Year-Old Uptown Homicide

Jennifer Ponton was killed when someone opened fire on her car in the 4500 block of North Broadway. | Google
About three years ago, a woman from Kankakee County was shot to death in Uptown when gangbangers mistook the car she was riding in for a rival gang member’s, police say.

Jenny's mom, Sue, prepares to tell her story to Chicago Case Files | Facebook
Now, Chicago police detectives are asking for the public’s help in bringing the shooter to justice.

“I just need a little bit more information,” Detective Marc Leavitt said Monday. “Maybe you were one of the persons in the shooter’s car who didn’t know what you were getting involved with.” Leavitt is hoping that one last piece of critical info will come his way.

Around 1:15 a.m. on April 15, 2015, Jennifer Ponton and a friend came to Chicago to take a drive along the lake. They exited at Wilson Avenue, got a little lost, and eventually found their way to Broadway, Leavitt said.

With Ponton in the passenger’s seat, the friend turned south on Broadway. That’s when gangbangers in another vehicle mistook Ponton’s car for that of rival gang member Lil Pappy.

As the cars approached the Uptown Target store at the 4466 North Broadway, the bangers’ vehicle accelerated up to Ponton’s and someone opened fire, striking Ponton in the head. Surveillance video shows the shooter’s car taking a sharp left turn onto Sunnyside Avenue as the driver of Ponton’s car speeds south on Broadway, eventually arriving at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Chicago Case Files aired the surveillance footage last weekend:

In an early report about the killing, a commenter told Uptown Update, “They killed a mother of two that has never in her life been in trouble. In fact, you don't usually meet people with not one enemy. Everyone loved her and still does.”

Tips about the murder of Jennifer Ponton can be submitted at 312-744-8261.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

FBI Releases Photo Of Lincoln Square Bank Robber

This man robbed a Lincoln Square bank on Saturday. | FBI
The FBI has released an image of a bank robber who struck in Lincoln Square over the weekend. The U.S. Bank at 4725 North Western was targeted in a “takeover” bank robbery just before 1 p.m. on Saturday, the agency said.

The robber seen here displayed a handgun and demanded cash, but further details of the crime were not released. Unlike passive “note job” bank robberies in which robbers pass written demands to tellers, “takeover” robberies usually involve actions such as ordering people to the floor, threatening people verbally, and physical harm. No one was reported injured in Saturday’s hold-up, according to Chicago police.

Witnesses told police that the offender wore a clear, light blue clown mask. He appeared to be white or Hispanic, about 5’9” tall and thin. He wore a blue hat, black polo shirt, black jogging pants, and carried a black umbrella. The suspect may have some skin discoloration around his mouth. He was last seen heading southbound on Western.

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