Monday, December 15, 2014

COPS: Gun Threat In Familiar-Sounding Monday Robbery

A man was robbed near Sheffield and Barry by an offender who claimed to have a gun around 10:15 Monday night.

The victim handed his blue and tan Aldo book bag to the robber, who was last seen running northbound on Sheffield toward the Belmont Red Line station.

According to the victim, his attacker was a short black man who wore a black bandana and a gray hoodie. (Case #HX543837)

Alert Issued

CWB readers may remember our story from last Friday in which we said some beat cops believed that two robberies the evening before were carried out by the same gunman. Area North detectives confirmed those suspicious by issuing a formal alert over the weekend.

Monday's robbery took place about a block away from one of the crimes detailed in the police alert.
Email us.  Facebook us. Twitter us.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

THE HANGOVER: 2 Robbed, Man Slashed, Occupied Home Burglarized As Police Presence Fades

After the TBOX crowd dissipated and the extra security and police coverage went home Sunday morning, the neighborhood's persistent criminal element moved in to fill the void.

At least two people were robbed, a young man was slashed in the face, and a household was awakened by a 3-man burglary team that had slipped into their home.

Most of the activity took place in Boystown and the infamous "Helmont" strip.

Woman Mugged In Boystown

A River North woman was strong-arm robbed near the epicenter of Boystown around 1 o'clock Sunday morning. The offenders battered the woman and took her property near the mouth of of an alley behind Roscoe's Tavern.

The victim described her attackers as two black men in their early 20's. One had a thin build and wore all black clothing. They were last seen running westbound in the south alley of Roscoe. (Case HX541503)

Man Slashed On Boystown Strip

A young male victim was slashed in the face near Halsted and Aldine around 3:15 this morning. The victim told police that his face had been slashed by a man with a blade in his hand. The offender was last seen running eastbound on Aldine from Halsted. An ambulance transported the victim to Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Attempted Robbery In Wrigleyville

Multiple callers reported seeing a victim getting beaten up by two men in what turned out to be an attempted robbery near Addison and Racine at 4:45 Sunday morning.

The offenders did not succeed in getting the victim's valuables. They were last seen running eastbound in the south alley of Addison. 

One of the would-be muggers is described as a black man in his early 20's who wore a blue hoodie.

Despite one of the early-arriving officer's inclination to categorize the crime as battery since the offenders didn't get anything, other offices eventually gave the crime its proper classification: Attempted strong-arm robbery. (Case HX541612)

Household Awakened By Burglars

Residents of a home near Belmont and Clifton were awakened at 5:25AM Sunday by a three-man burglary team that was prowling their apartment. The offenders fled with a laptop after apparently realizing that they had awakened their victims. (Case HX541628)

Other Late Activity

The late night/early morning hours brought a flurry of additional activity that felt more like a summer night than a December morning. Among reported incidents:

4:41AM - Two men engaged in a fight after one of them tried to steal the other's cellphone near Berlin nightclub, 954 Belmont.

4:54AM - Man reports that an offender beat his friends up at the Belmont Red Line. While police could not locate the incident, the caller dialed 911 again about 10 minutes later to report that his friend was being treated at Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

5:07AM - A 911 caller reports that a man with dreadlocks is threatening to shoot people as he rides a bike around the area of Belmont and Southport. The caller did not see a weapon.

5:07AM - A prostitute calls 911 to report that they are having a problem with a customer at Belmont and Halsted. The couple is gone when police arrive.

5:23AM - 911 callers report that a man has been "laid out" following a fight at 930 Belmont, the address of Clarke's diner.
Email us.  Facebook us. Twitter us.

NAUGHTY: 7 Arrests At Wrigleyville Bar Crawl

TBOX "Fun" in a screen grab from this short video.
NOTE: Following our post,  two robberies,  a slashing /stabbing,  and the burglary of an occupied home by 3 men were reported. Details of those incidents are now up in a separate report.

Saturday’sl Twelve Bars of Christmas (TBOX) bar crawl went relatively well according to police officers and supervisors who spoke with CWB.

Under pressure from the police department and area residents, TBOX organizers added a significant number of private security officers at their own expense.

Fire department ambulances were kept busy throughout the day and night as "sidewalk inspectors" collapsed on area streets. (TBOX did supply a couple of private ambulances, but their services were limited to drunks who dropped out on the Wrigleyville bar zone proper.)

Major events should be picking up the tab for neighborhood security and event medical services. With our police district’s manpower slashed by 25% in recent years, organizers should control and patrol their own events rather than sucking away first responders from area residents.

Are you listening, Chicago Pride Parade?

CWB estimates that 7 arrests were made in connection with TBOX yesterday, compared to 11 arrests last year.

Here’s the TBOX 2014 play-by-play, with a couple of YouTube videos from The1stmikec:

The Chicago Police Department's big scary bus
is seen on Halsted Street in 2013.
7:26AM — The police department’s Big Scary Bus has arrived. We haven’t seen him in a long time. He even skipped Pride this year.

12:17PM — Winner! Outside of Stretch Bar & Grill, the first person has been cited for drinking on the public way.

12:38PM — Knock out! The first ambulance is summoned to TBOX on behalf of a “half-passed out” drunk woman in the alley behind Moe’s Cantina. Way to go, girl!

12:47PM — On the Einstein Bagels parking lot, security sees a man testing door handles. Description: Male, black, 5’10” tall, 30 years old, wearing a brown puffy coat and goggles.

12:55PM — Bingo! The first arrest of TBOX 2014 takes place at Clark and Cornelia.

1:24PM — Private ambulance summoned for a “highly intoxicated individual” at Clark and Cornelia.

1:26PM — A woman wearing a Santa hat, red sweater, and jeans is urinating under the L tracks at Sheffield and Roscoe “right next to the porta-potties.” In the spirit of the holidays, a man is urinating next to her.

1:39PM — “A man’s down and he keeps passing out” at Belmont and Seminary.

1:41PM — Two white guys “wearing sweaters and costumes” are fist fighting inside Einstein Bagels.

1:43PM — Fire Department reports that the man down at Belmont and Seminary is now lying in traffic. He’s wearing a “bright red, fancy Santa suit.”

1:48PM — Another Santa is reported down in the 3300 block of Seminary. Police give him a ride to Clybourn and Fullerton.

2:32PM — More tickets for drinking on the public way. Outside of Cubby Bear this time.

2:33PM — Elmhurst police are calling. They say a 22-year-old woman is TBOX-ing at Sluggers and she just texted her boyfriend to say she’s feeling suicidal. That's a natural reaction, honey.

2:33PM — Two more arrests—3519 Clark.

2:33PM — “When the [paddy] wagon is done picking up that prisoner [at 3519 Clark], have them back up 100 yards. I have another one.”

Oh, come on, lady. (The1stmikec)
2:44PM — Aaaaand another arrest.

3:54PM — Need an ambulance outside of Cubby Bear. There’s a man down and he’s bleeding from the head.

4:00PM - She didn't, right?  [Tiny VIDEO]

4:02PM — It appears that the police and fire departments have deployed an “overcrowding detail,” dedicated to citing bars that admit too many TBOXers. At least two bars have been cited already.

4:04PM — Festively-dressed man down. 3246 Wilton. Ambulanced to Illinois Masonic.

4:28PM — Another bar gets written up for overcrowding.

4:42PM — At Dark Horse bar, a drunk caller wants the police because the bouncer won’t let her back in.

4:47PM — And another overcrowded bar.

6:19PM — “Male white wearing a white bird costume has passed out on the hood of a car,” 3524 Halsted.

6:20PM — Officer confirms: “I believe an ambulance is warranted. Drunk male. Dressed as a bird. Passed out on the hood of a vehicle.” Birdman gets hospitalized.

6:27PM — Man down outside 706 Roscoe. He’s scooped up and whisked away by ambulance.

6:57PM — Too much Elfin’ fun. Private ambulance needed for a semi-conscious TBOXer at Rockwood Place.

7:38PM — Bar detains a customer for trying to steal a bottle of liquor. It’s not clear which bar is involved. The caller says it’s Casey Moran’s, but the address given is of Deuces and The Diamond Club.

7:41PM — One arrest for battery. Douches Deuces and The Diamond Club.

9:00PM — Aaaand another arrest. Clark and Addison this time.

What's Christmas without nunchucks? (The1stmikec)
9:06PM — Hit and run outside of the 19th district police station. Black SUV is last seen heading south on Fremont.

9:28PM — We got a 45-year-old woman who can’t walk. Fremont and Waveland.

9:30PM - Just some guy whipping nunchuks. [Video]

9:35PM — A resident in the 3300 block of Clark reports an unknown drunk man on her fire escape. He’s wearing a red holiday sweater.

11:07PM — At Sluggers, Megan says a tall white guy with dark hair and dark eyes has been “aggressive to the females.” He was put in a chokehold in the stairwell. She’s upset and just wants the police to know that.

2:21AM — An officer who has had it up to HERE with drunks in holiday gear: “We need ANOTHER ambulance for ANOTHER drunk female. HIGHLY intoxicated. Clark and Eddy, PLEASE.”
Email us.  Facebook us. Twitter us.

Friday, December 12, 2014

RE-RUN: Woman Robbed At Gunpoint Near Marshall's; Offender May Have Tried Earlier Heist In Uptown

A woman was robbed at gunpoint behind her home in the 800 block of Fletcher Thursday evening and some cops think the same offender tried to rob a woman in Uptown earlier in the afternoon.

In the Fletcher robbery, police say a lone gunman pointed a handgun at the victim in the alley behind her home shortly after 7 o'clock Thursday evening. The woman surrendered her purse and the gunman fled toward Clark Street in Fletcher's south alley. (Case HX538795)

The offender is described as a black man wearing a red hoodie. He covered his face with scarf.

A couple of hours earlier, around 2:30PM, a gunman pulled a handgun on two people in an alley behind the 4500 block of Dover in Uptown. Police say the robbery fell apart when one of the victims fled. The offender ran away empty-handed. (Case HX538438)

The Uptown suspect is described as a black man, 5'7" tall, wearing a maroon sweatshirt. He used clothing to cover his face. Based on the similarity in descriptions and the fact that the first robbery failed, officers suspect the same man is responsible for both crimes.


All sorts of snoops and package thieves continue to pop up around the neighborhood, just itching to take your unattended Amazon deliveries:

• Police were called to the 3300 block of Seminary yesterday evening after a 911 caller reported seeing a "suspicious person" steal a package from their neighbor's home. Police confirmed that a theft occurred, but the suspect slipped away. He is described as a black man in his 20's with a slim build. He was last seen running northbound on Seminary around 4:40PM.

• Around 5:25PM yesterday, a Boystown resident parked behind her home and scared the daylights out of two men who were apparently trying to break in. Last seen running northbound on Fremont from Cornelia were two black male offenders. The first was "dressed horribly" in a baseball cap, pink coat with green decorations, red pants, and black shoes. His cohort wore a black coat, black jogging pants, and black shoes. Both men had backpacks.

• A forcible entry burglary was confirmed by police Monday in the 3100 block of Racine.

• Around 7:30 Tuesday morning, a man reported seeing packages being stolen from his neighbor's house in the 1400 block of Melrose. The offenders were described as a Hispanic man and a Hispanic woman "driving around taking packages" in a small, 2-door blue car that sits low to the ground.
Email us. Facebook us. Twitter us.


Leo Matias, murdered in Uptown. Image: Fox32
The gangbangers of Uptown claimed an innocent this week.

21-year-old Leo Matias was working for a safety company, swapping out fire extinguishers at a Wilson Avenue flop house at 10 o'clock Tuesday morning. A black 4-door vehicle with blacked-out windows and chrome wheels pulled up and opened fire on a man who was sitting in a Chrysler parked near Matias' work truck.

The intended target—a banger from the South Side's Grand Crossing neighborhood—was not injured. An errant bullet caught Leo in the head and he died the next day.

Leo's family agreed to donate his organs, a move that may save as many as six lives, according to Craig Wall at Fox32.

Matias' slaying has many 19th district officers fired up. One cop wrote, "Here's a young man doing the right thing and has his life ended by punks."

Leo's death is Uptown's fifth homicide of the year. A 400% increase over 2013.

Sadly, the gang-ripped neighborhood's alderman, James Cappleman, opted to focus Uptown's crime-fighting efforts on vagrants and drunks rather than fighting to bring in more cops to handle the real problem. With the 2015 budget approved, don't expect anything to change next year. At least not for the better.


The 25% cut in our police district's manpower leaves local police executives in a tough spot.

Where should they deploy the district's limited tactical teams? To fight burglaries in west Lakeview? To battle Wrigleyville and Boystown's robbery offenders? To counter gang activity in Uptown? To babysit drunks on Clark and Halsted Streets?

Without proper staffing, the district is sure to continue this pattern of solving one neighborhood's problem, only to have another neighborhood's problem run amok. Then the focus will go there and the problems will return to the area where the cops used to be.

Unfortunately, Uptown's problem is measured in lives. Or drunks.  Depends who you ask.
Email us. Facebook us. Twitter us.

DETOXED: Bar Crawl Will Be Good Neighbor, Promoter Says

Image: Chive On Chicago
The twelve-hour-long Twelve Bars of Christmas (TBOX) bar crawl hits Wrigleyville at 8AM Saturday morning.

TBOX has quickly risen to third place on our neighborhood's list of epic shit shows, right behind the Pride Parade and St. Patrick's Day.

After spiraling out of control in 2012, TBOX was tamed in 2013 by cold weather and snowfall. CWB recorded "only" eleven arrests at TBOX last year.

Lots of changes have been announced for tomorrow's event, including the hiring of many, many extra security agents at the insistence of 19th district police Commander Elias Voulgaris.

Also new this year are the establishment of first aid stations; posting of private ambulances; and the placement of public portable toilets.

Private ambulances, first aid stations, and port-a-potties. Sounds like a great time.

The police department is not handing over the reins to TBOX's staff entirely. Yesterday afternoon, 19th district officers were offered the opportunity to pick up a time-and-a-half shift on Saturday. Start time? 3PM.
Email us. Facebook us. Twitter us.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

BELEAGUERED BELMONT: 2 Robberies Reported; Stabbing Attempt At Parking Garage

Officers were flagged down by a man who had been beaten and robbed of a black duffel bag by two offenders near the 7-Eleven store at Belmont and Racine around 8PM Monday.

An ambulance was called for the man who reportedly suffered a head injury when he fell to the ground. Both attackers are described as black men, with one said to be 5'9" tall, 170 pounds, 30 to 35 years old, and wearing all black clothing.

• Multiple 911 callers reported seeing a man get beaten up and robbed near Belmont and Clark around 3AM Saturday. Police arrived quickly and located witnesses, but not the victim.

According to bystanders, two black men dressed in all black attacked the victim, stole his property, and then fled toward Halsted Street. They were last seen heading northbound on Dayton, the small street that looks like an alley between Halsted and Clark.

No report could be immediately taken in the Saturday incident as police could not find the victim.

Image: Parking Panda

In The Garage

There's been more excitement in the parking garage at 3130 Sheffield, where at least 22 cars were broken into recently.

Police were called to the garage late Thursday night after receiving a report of four men "lurking" inside. Two of the suspects, including one who dropped a knife, fled when police arrived. Two others were questioned and released.

At 10:30 the next night, a security guard reported that a man tried to stab him at the garage. The suspect in that incident is described as a Hispanic man in his late 20's. He escaped in a silver van with a white female driver.
Email us. Facebook us. Twitter us.

HELLO, GOOD BYE: Burglar Paroled, Arrested, Convicted, And Returned To Prison...In Less Than 3 Days

The Edward Hall mugshot collection. (L to R): November 26; November 29; December 1.
Images: Illinois Department of Corrections, Chicago Police Department.

This must be some kind of record. Convicted Winnebago County burglar Edward Hall managed to get paroled, find his way to Boystown, get arrested and convicted of prostitution, have his parole revoked, and get returned to prison in less than 60 hours over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hall was released from a downstate prison the day before Thanksgiving and almost immediately made his way to Boystown. Police arrested him for prostitution in an alley behind Halsted and Newport at 3:30AM on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He pleaded guilty, received a one-day sentence, then got shipped off to Stateville to serve out the rest of his burglary term.

What An Ass!

Police say Zachary T. Martinson of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, had a simple plan for the evening of November 30th. He’d take the Red Line to Belmont and walk over to Halsted Street’s Steamworks bath house.

He never made it to Steamworks.

Police say Martinson eyed the plump buttocks of a man as he walked along Belmont and proceeded to give those butt cheeks a friendly slap of affection.

Unfortunately for Martinson, the buttocks belong to an undercover police officer who was working on an anti-robbery mission.

Two other officers stopped Martinson for a field interview and were wrapping up when things escalated. Quickly.

Martinson, 25, allegedly lunged at an officer who was getting into a police car, at which point the officer told Martinson he was being arrested. “Offender began to resist…to defeat arrest [and officers] performed emergency handcuffing,” police say, adding that Martinson became apologetic after being read his rights.

“I want to apologize for smacking your bodacious booty,” Martinson is quoted as saying. “I got off the Red Line and decided to hit on some random person who had a bodacious booty.” Martinson allegedly told police that he thought it would be OK to smack a nice ass because he was on Belmont.

He’s charged with battery, aggravated assault to a police officer, and two counts of resisting arrest.
Email us.  Facebook us. Twitter us.

Monday, December 08, 2014

READER: Three Stories To Get Your Week Started

Monday sampler pack:

Tunney Supporter Tries To Get Opponents Tossed Off Ballot

A neighbor and supporter of local alderman Tom Tunney is trying to get all of Tunney’s opponents thrown off of the ballot. [Full story]

To be sure, Tunney will claim to have no knowledge of Charles Schutt’s actions. After all, the last time he was opposed (in 2003), Tunney denied knowning that his own attorneys were trying to get his then-opponent thrown off the ballot. As that woman told the Chicago Reader 11 years ago:
"All [Tunney’s attorney] wanted was to chew up my time and drain my resources, keeping me in hearings instead of campaigning. And you know who I blame? I blame Tom. They wouldn't be doing this if he didn't want it [to be done]. I called him up…and I told him, 'Look, I never took this personally, but I am now. I'm going to hold you personally responsible for what your lawyers are doing to the voting rights of the people of Lakeview.' I said, 'Are you aware of what your lawyers are doing?' And he said, 'Well no, not really. I don't know what's going on.' I said, 'Well you better educate yourself.'" She laughs. "He wants to be like Sergeant Schultz--I see nothing, I hear nothing. You can't get away with being a know-nothing candidate in the 44th Ward. Folks are too smart for that."

A Disservice

The Chicago Tribune is running a series of stories about mismanagement at state-sponsored non-profit youth centers, including Lawrence Hall, a residence for wards of the state which sits just mort of our police district.

The series is excellent, providing example after example of how vulnerable kids and the community are ill-served by mismanaged agencies.

The Trib’s report is a big boy version of our reports on local service agencies that shelter known criminals among easily-influenced, vulnerable kids who genuinely need help.

Those agencies desperately deflect attention from their performance issues by screaming that those who question their performance are  racist. Or ageist. Or  homophobic. Or transphobic. Or whatever their latest buzzword is.

The Tribune report supports what CWB has always said: The problem is not having service agencies provide help to those in need. The problem is some of those agencies' lousy managers.

Suspicious Foodservice

On the lighter side, 19th district officers who sit outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house called for back-up again this weekend after they observed a truck idling down the street with its lights on around 9:30 Saturday night.

More officers rushed to the scene, questioned the driver, and ran his ID for wants and warrants.

No, there was (still) not a conspiracy against the mayor. The truck and its driver were all part of a neighbor’s catering crew.

While our district has lost 25% of its police force since October 2011, protection of the mayor’s house still utilizes a a full 5% of our district’s manpower, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.

Not one legitimate threat to the mayor’s residence has ever been reported. However, Rahm’s housesitters have called in back-up to:

Disperse people who were leaving a party more than a block from the mayor’s home. (Responding officers found nothing to disperse).

Investigate a “suspicious man” who was heard coughing near a garage in Rahm’s alley. The man was setting up a yard sale.

Most infamously, officers assign to Rahm's house were put through the wringer after a “suspicious package” showed up on his porch. The “suspicious package” turned out to be organic tomatoes that his gardener had picked from the mayor’s backyard garden.
Email us.  Facebook us. Twitter us.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

THE BIGGEST LOSER: Alderman's Neighbor Tries To Get All Opponents Kicked Off The Ballot

Tom Tunney, the alderman who represents Wrigleyville and Boystown, did something unusual this week. He voted against a piece of legislation that was supported by the mayor. It is only the second time that Tunney has voted against mayoral wishes.

And both of the issues Tunney has voted against directly affect his private enterprise as owner of Ann Sather Restaurants.

This week, he voted against raising the minimum wage in Chicago. His other "no" vote was against free parking at meters on Sundays. He says free parking prevents people from visiting businesses. Like, say, his.

Every one of his other votes has been directly in line with the mayor--including budgets that have led to the loss of 25% of the cops in our district since October 2011. And it looks like the residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown should settle in for another four years of Tom Tunney working on behalf of his personal interests instead of theirs.

Objections Filed

Three men collected signatures in an effort to get themselves on the ballot to run against Tunney in the upcoming municipal elections—Robin Cook, Scott Davis, and Mark Thomas.

This week, a former Catholic priest who lives in a condo complex next door to Tunney's filed objections to all three of the men's petitions to get on the ballot. He did not file any objections to Tunney's petitions.

The three potential opponents now face the potentially expensive and time consuming process of defending their petitions before the Board of Election Commissioners.

Charles Schutt, who has contributed to Tunney's campaign in the past, filed the objections. He lives at 2800 N. Lake Shore Drive, directly next to Tunney's condo building at 330 W. Diversey.

Schutt claims Mark Thomas' papers should be rejected "in their entirety because [Thomas] does not satisfy the residency requirements of the Illinois Municipal Code in that he has not been a resident of the 44th Ward..for the requisite one-year period."

Thomas, who has owned and operated The Alley stores at Clark and Belmont for decades, told supporters last year that he would be moving to an apartment in the 44th ward by early October 2013. He recently shared photos of that apartment, which overlooks Belmont Harbor.

Schutt alleges that the petitions of Cook and Davis contain too many invalid signatures for those men to be placed on the ballot.


A few weeks ago, Robin Cook set up a account in an attempt to raise funds for his fledgling campaign against Tunney. His efforts have drummed up $1,070. And exactly one comment. It's from Charles Schutt.
Schutt's comment on Robin Cook's GoFundMe page.

Cook has a long way to go beyond $1,070. Tunney's campaign fund balance is $241,446.72


Tunney has not had an opponent since being elected to the City Council in 2003.

This story from the February 13, 2003,  Chicago Reader about Tunney's candidacy and how his supporters tied up opponents in petition signature battles may sound familiar.
Email us. Facebook us. Twitter us.