Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Man gets 7 years for brutal stabbing of North Avenue Beach volleyball player

Michael Curry pleaded guilty to stabbing a league volleyball player near North Avenue Beach.
The man who viciously stabbed a North Avenue Beach volleyball player in Lincoln Park in July 2016 has pleaded guilty to attempted murder.

Michael Curry, 30, was sentenced to seven years in prison and was given credit for 917 days spent in jail awaiting trial by Judge Earl Hoffenberg.

The stabbing victim told police that he was walking to his car around 9:20 p.m. after playing league volleyball when Curry—a complete stranger—stabbed him five times near the intersection of Clark Street and Lincoln Park West.

“I was taken to Northwestern [Memorial Hospital] where they worked on stitching and stapling me up until 3AM,” the victim said at the time. “I was released [days later].”

Curry's case is a classic example of what's wrong with Cook County's justice system.

One month before the Lincoln Park attack, Curry was arrested and charged with swinging a knife and cutting a 52-year-old man during a robbery at the Chicago Red Line station. The man suffered a 7-inch laceration to his upper arm, according to police.

Officers arrested Curry nearby, and he was positively identified by the victim as the man who attacked him. He was charged, jailed, and held on a high bond.

But, during a hearing at Belmont and Western three weeks later, Judge Marvin Luckman ruled that there was no probable cause in the case and he threw the case out.

Curry was set free. Six days later, he repeatedly stabbed the volleyball player.

Court Report: Sentences handed down in cases you read about on CWB

Gary Smith was accused of threatening CTA passengers with a hatchet. | CPD; File
Some cases that we told you about on CWBChicago have been resolved in court. Here is an update:

The man who was accused of threatening CTA passengers at the Belmont Red Line station with a hatchet on Oct. 10th has reached a plea deal.

Prosecutors charged 39-year-old Gary Smith with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, reckless conduct, and probation violation after witnesses reported that he displayed a hatchet on the CTA platform and told a 35-year-old man, “Imma f*ck you up.” A CTA worker also reported seeing Smith “menacing” the man as well as other CTA patrons, according to police. No one was injured.

Smith has now pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors dropped the other charges in the deal that saw Judge Anthony Calabrese sentence Smith to an 80-day jail sentence with credit for 42 days served awaiting trial.

Pete Slowik and Wrigleyville's Stretch Bar & Grill. | Google; CPD
A 34-year-old man who was accused of fracturing a Lakeview man’s jaw and knocking out four of his teeth during a bar fight in Wrigleyville early on New Year’s Day 2018 has reached a plea deal.

Pete Slowik of the 1100 block of West Roscoe was also accused in court papers of putting a second man into a choke hold and rendering him unconscious during the incident at Stretch Bar & Grill, 3485 North Clark.

Slowik has now pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. Four additional counts of aggravated battery were dropped in the plea agreement. Judge Angela Petrone sentenced Slowik to 21 months probation and levied a $399 fine.

Kenneth Manning pleaded guilty to aggravated battery for her role in an alleged robbery that took place in a residential driveway next to Boystown's Fitness Formula Club. | CPD; Google
Kenneth Manning, 22, the transgender woman who repeatedly skipped bail and was repeatedly bailed out again by a charity bond fund, has resolved her robbery case.

In May 2017, a 25-year-old man told police that he was walking in the 3200 block of North Halsted when Manning and co-defendant Edward Smith pushed him into a driveway and robbed him around 3 a.m.

Now, Manning has reached a plea deal in which she has pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in exchange for a sentence of two-years probation. Prosecutors also agreed to drop robbery and unlawful restraint charges in the deal, which was approved by Judge Peggy Chiampas.
John Billhorn | CPD

Smith’s case continues to work its way through the court system.

• A Lakeview attorney who was accused of using his phone to film up the skirt of a woman who was ahead of him on a Loop department store escalator in June 2018 has reached a plea deal.

John Billhorn, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of videotaping through clothes, according to court records.

Judge Anthony Calabrese sentenced him to 18 months of court supervision.

Ontiveros | CPD
• A Lincoln Square man who was accused of grabbing a woman and choking her during a robbery in the 4800 block of North Ravenswood in Nov. 2017 has managed to avoid prison time.

Martin Ontiveros, 19, has pleaded guilty to one count of robbery in a plea deal that called on prosecutors to drop a second charge of aggravated battery-strangulation. Judge Earl Hoffenberg approved the agreement and sentenced Ontiveros to two years of intensive probation and ordered him to pay a $667 fine.
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Career burglar — sentenced to 371 years in prison since 1991 — now charged with burglary. Again.

Walter Miller | Cook County Sheriff's Office
This career burglar, sentenced to a combined 371 years in prison since 1991, was released early from the penitentiary in June. Now, he’s charged with burglary again. Such are the luxuries of being a criminal in Illinois, the land of liberal sentencing practices, seemingly endless lists of sentences being served concurrently, and automatic sentencing discounts.

Walter Miller, 61, was arrested at his Irving Park home after a burglary victim identified him as the man who posed as a city government worker to access his home and then steal valuables on Dec. 18th.

Chicago police repeatedly warned North Side residents of burglars posing as city contractors or employees to access homes in November and December. Investigators are working to see if Miller is responsible for more of those crimes.

For now, Miller is charged with one felony count of burglary by false representation. Judge Stephanie Miller set his bail at $10,000.

State records show that Miller was paroled out of the Vienna Correctional Center on June 13th. He had been there since July 2008 when he pleaded guilty to home invasion and five counts of burglary. He was sentenced to six 20-year terms, but the judge allowed the sentences to be served concurrently. Instead of 120 years in prison, he was freed after serving about ten.

Just seven years earlier, Miller was sentenced to thirteen terms of 12-1/2 years each for burglary to (again) be served concurrently. So, instead of serving 162.5 years, he was released after serving only six.

Back in 1991, Miller was sentenced to five terms of 15 years each for burglaries. Once again, his sentences were served concurrently, so he was only in prison for about eight years instead of 75.
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Boystown: Bank robber narrowly escapes pursuing cops

This man is being sought in connection with the robbery of a Boystown-area bank on Wednesday. | FBI
A bank robber narrowly escaped pursuing cops in Boystown on Wednesday afternoon.

Police said a man handed a note to a teller at the TCF Bank inside Jewel-Osco, 3531 North Broadway, around 1:30 p.m. The note stated that he had a gun and demanded cash.

The teller handed the man a bundle of cash with a hidden GPS tracker that led police to the alley between the 700 blocks of West Cornelia and West Brompton, just east of Halsted Street.

Police recovered cash, the GPS device, a torn-up demand note, a surgical mask, a sweatshirt, and other evidence in the alley. But the robber was nowhere to be found.

According to the FBI, a robber is a black man in his 20’s with a slight build.

It’s nice to see that the bank, which is one of the most frequently robbed on the North Side, has installed much better cameras since the last time it was held up.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading directly to the arrest of the robber. Anyone with information regarding the incident should contact the FBI's Chicago Field Office at (312) 421-6700.
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Update: Propane, gasoline tanks in minivan were "non-criminal event," police say


A minivan that was found packed with gasoline canisters and propane tanks on Tuesday morning was not part of any criminal activity, Chicago police said today.

Police and fire personnel responded to the Government Center Garage, 181 North Clark Street, around 10:30 a.m. yesterday after an employee found a minivan emitting suspicious fumes with two flat tires on the fourth floor.

The minivan, a silver 2006 Chrysler Town & Country, was loaded with 225 gallons of gasoline in 15 separate containers, according to WBBM Newsradio reporter Stephen Miller. At least one propane tank was also in the van.

Today, a police spokesperson told CWBChicago that investigators had spoken with the minivan’s owner and he was cleared. “It was deemed a non-criminal event,” the spokesperson said.

Miller quoted a fire department official who speculated that the van’s owner may be a thrifty shopper who stockpiles gasoline out-of-state where fuel taxes are lower.

Traffic was diverted around the garage, which sits directly east of the Thompson Center, until 12:45 p.m.  The CTA’s Brown, Orange, Purple, and Green Line trains, which pass the garage at the second-floor level, continued to operate without stopping at the Clark/Lake station.
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Man charged with robbing Gold Coast bank

Kerry McCoy was arrested inside the Bank of America at 1167 N State. | Google; CPD
A Douglas resident’s attempt to rob a Gold Coast bank last week failed when the teller walked away, and he waited around long enough for police to arrive.

Police said 57-year-old Kerry McCoy walked into the Bank of America at 1167 North State around 3 p.m. last Wednesday and handed a note to the teller.

“This is a bank robbery - Money Fast!!!!,” the note reportedly said. “(Thank You).”

But when the teller finished reading the note, she tripped a silent alarm and walked into the back office.

Meanwhile, McCoy continued to stand at the teller window, possibly expecting the cashier to return with bags of free loot.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, 18th District police officers arrived and detained McCoy because he matched the bank robber description that had been broadcast on CPD radios. Bank employees confirmed that they had the right man.

McCoy is charged in state court with felony robbery of a financial institution. Judge David Navarro ordered him held without bail.
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79-year-old woman hospitalized after being kicked in the head on Red Line

Jerrel Turner | Cook County Sheriff's Office
A 79-year-old woman was hospitalized after another Red Line passenger kicked her in the face near the Bryn Mawr station last week, police said. Charges have been filed.

Prosecutors said multiple witnesses reported seeing 34-year-old Jerrel Turner swing her body from an overhead handrail and kick the elderly woman in the face without provocation around 11:15 a.m. on Jan. 13th. Turner, of the Englewood neighborhood, identifies as female, according to police.

Turner exited the train at Bryn Mawr, followed by a witness who trailed her until police arrived.

“She kicked an old lady in the face on the train,” the witness reportedly told arriving officers. A second witness confirmed details of the attack, police said, and the victim was able to identify Turner as the attacker.

The victim, who lives in Rogers Park, was admitted to Weiss Hospital for treatment of blunt trauma to her forehead, according to police records.

Turner is charged with felony aggravated battery of a victim over the age of 60. Judge Stephanie Miller set her bail at $10,000.
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3 robberies reported in Loop, Streeterville on Tuesday

Macy's security officers disarmed a shoplifter who threatened them with a handgun, police said. | Google
Police are investigating at least three robberies reported in the Loop and nearby Streeterville on Tuesday evening. No arrests have been made.

In the first case, a woman from out-of-town told police that three or four men pushed her several times and stole her purse at the Monroe Blue Line station around 5:25 p.m. She said the robbers were black men who all wore long gray coats. Taken was a black handbag with gold zippers.

Then, around 6:30 p.m., a shoplifter pulled out a handgun and threatened Macy’s security guards who tried to stop him at the retailer’s flagship location, 111 North State Street. Macy’s employees were able to disarm the robber, but he managed to escape and was last seen heading south on State Street. The robber was male, black, 22- to 28-years-old, 250 to 260 pounds, and wore a puffy black coat with fur on the hood, tan cargo pants, black 90’s-era Air Jordans, and a black winter cap, according to the loss prevention officers.

The Subway restaurant in Streeterville. | Google
A Streeterville Subway restaurant and one of its customers were robbed at gunpoint around 8:45 p.m. The offender entered the store at 511 North McClurg, pulled out a handgun, and collected the store’s cash drawer, change dispenser, and a customer’s ring, according to a police report. He then fled north on McClurg with the cash drawer tucked under his coat. Video showed the offender to be a thin white or Hispanic man in his 40’s who stands 5’7” to 5’10” tall. He was wearing a dark-colored scarf over his face and a dark three-quarter length coat.

Near North carjacking

Also under investigation in the Near North neighborhood is an armed carjacking that was reported Saturday evening. The victim told police that he was shoveling parking spots in the 300 block of West Wendell around 7 p.m. when a gunman approached and demanded his car keys. Taken was a red 2016 Hyundai Sonata with Wisconsin license plates. The gunman is described as a black man in his 20’s who was wearing a “straight outta Compton” t-shirt. He’s 5’10” tall, had dreadlocks, and wore a black hoodie, beige boots, jeans, the victim said.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Wrigleyville: Cops search for driver who fled hit-and-run

Surveillance image of the vehicle being sought by police. | CPD
Chicago police are asking for the public’s help in tracking down a driver who struck and seriously injured a pedestrian near Wrigley Field last month.

At 9:27 p.m. on Dec. 13th, the minivan seen in this surveillance image struck the pedestrian at 932 West Addison, about 50 yards east of the Addison Red Line station, police said. The driver did not stop and fled the scene.

Police said the minivan is either red or maroon in color. It has a roof rack and a placard on the driver’s door. The van may have damage to its headlights, front end, and its right side, according to police.

Anyone who has information that may lead police to the identity of the driver or the vehicle is asked to contact CPD’s Major Accident Investigation Unit at 312-745-4521 about case number JB-552321.
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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Lakeview: Cops investigating robberies of women near Grace & Paulina


Police are investigating a pair of nearly-identical robberies in the Lakeview neighborhood that reportedly unfolded within steps of each other near the intersection of Paulina and Grace. No one is in custody.

Around 10 p.m. on Friday evening, a 39-year-old woman reported that she was walking in the 3800 block of North Paulina when a man got out of a car and attacked her from behind. The man struck the woman and took her backpack and phone, a police spokesperson said.

The offender returned to the car and was last seen heading south on Paulina. He is described as black, 25- to 35-years-old, 6’ to 6’5” tall, 200 to 210 pounds, wearing a gray hat, a black jacket, and blue jeans.

Friday’s mugging took place near the scene of a similar attack that was reported earlier this week, according to a police department source.

In the earlier incident, a woman reported that she was walking near Paulina and Grace around 9 p.m. on Wednesday when a man approached her, forced her to stop, and then went through her pockets and stole her backpack, the source said. The victim told police that the offender got into a dark-colored sedan and sped off toward Ashland.
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