Friday, September 21, 2018

Gunman opened fire on family's car Thursday afternoon, police say


A family of three was targeted by a gunman who opened fire on their car Thursday afternoon in the 4000 block of North Kenmore, police said. No one was injured, but the victims’ car was damaged by bullets. It's the second violent incident to be reported on the block this week.

Police said a 28-year-old man was driving with his 23-year-old woman and a one-year-old boy when the shooter emerged from a dark-colored vehicle and began firing shots at the two adults around 3:35 p.m.

The gunman then returned to his car and fled northbound on Kenmore, police said.

Both adults refused medical attention. An ambulance crew was dispatched to look at the infant as a precaution, according to police.

The offender was described as a black man with dreadlocks in his 20’s who stands about 5’7” tall.

Thursday’s shooting is the second violent incident to be reported near the intersection of Kenmore and Irving Park Road this week. The crimes are not believed to be related.

On Sunday afternoon, a 24-year-old man was carjacked as he unloaded items from his car on Kenmore just north of the intersection, police said. The victim was walking toward his home when three offenders approached him and one pressed a hard object into his back while demanding the man’s car keys, police said.

After getting the man’s keys, the three offenders ran to the victim’s car and got in. The victim tried to pull the driver out of the car, but the offender accelerated and dragged the victim for a short distance, according to police.

The victim suffered visible injuries to his leg, but he declined medical attention.

The stolen car is a silver 2012 Subaru Legacy with a license plate that begins with Q445. The vehicle was last seen heading eastbound on Irving Park Road.

According to the victim, the offenders were three black men between 18- and 20-years-old. One of them wore a denim jacket.

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Wrigleyville: Attempted carjacking on Clark Street Thursday morning


Police are investigating an attempted carjacking near Wrigleyville during the Thursday morning rush.

The victim, who is a retired veterinarian, was sitting in his car in the 3400 block of North Clark Street waiting for a southbound traffic signal to change around 8 a.m. That’s when a man approached the victim’s driver’s side door, announced that he was armed with a handgun, and ordered the man to get out of his vehicle, according to a police report.

Instead, the victim accelerated his car through the red light and called the police.

Police described the offender as a Hispanic man between 30- and 40-years-old who was wearing a red baseball hat, white t-shirt, and beige shorts. He had black hair and a mustache. The victim said the man was last seen walking southbound on Sheffield from Clark.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Seven-time convicted felon charged with pulling gun on Uber driver

Percy Hicks was arrested near the Clark/Division Red Line station. | CPD; Google
He’s 37. He has “Conservative Vice Lord” tattooed to his arm. He pleaded guilty to shooting a man in 1997. And he’s been sentenced to a combined 40 years in prison over the past 21 years. Yet, somehow, prosecutors say he was on the streets of Chicago, pulling a gun on an Uber driver near Rush & Division early Monday. His name is Percy Hicks.

Police said the Uber driver had just dropped off a passenger and was sitting inside his car in the 100 block of West Elm around 2 a.m. when Hicks rode up on a bike while pointing a handgun at him. Hicks’ motive is not clear as he then pedaled away from the scene, police said. The Uber driver called 911.

Cops caught up with Hicks in the 100 block of West Division and took him into custody. He was carrying a handgun and the Uber driver identified him as the man who threatened him minutes earlier, police said.

Hicks is charged with felony armed habitual criminal and misdemeanor aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was ordered held without bail.

State records show that Hicks was paroled on February 28th after serving slightly less than half of an eight-year narcotics sentence that he received in July 2014. It was just the latest in a string of felony convictions that have seen Hicks receive prison time totaling 40 years since 1997. His previous terms include:
• One year for narcotics in 2013
• Four years for manufacture-delivery of cannabis in 2010
• Six years for attempted armed robbery in 2004
• Twelve years for armed robbery in 2003
• Three years for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in 2002
• Six years for aggravated battery with a firearm in 1997
Like nearly all persons sentenced to serve time in Illinois, Hicks has won 50% sentencing discounts for good behavior each time he reported to prison. If he is convicted of the new "armed habitual criminal" charge, he will be required to serve 85% of the sentence.

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Charges filed in Streeterville parking garage shooting

Ricardo Ortiz is charged with last month's shooting inside a parking garage at 240 East Illinois. | Google; CPD
A 19-year-old man with three active criminal matters in Cook County courts has a fourth case to worry about: He’s now accused of shooting a man inside of a Streeterville parking garage on August 17th.

Prosecutors said surveillance video captured images of Ricardo Ortiz pulling out a handgun in the garage at 240 East Illinois around 11:45 p.m. Ortiz fired the weapon at a security camera and then into the garage, striking a 20-year-old man in the abdomen, according to court records. The victim subsequently recovered from his injuries and identified Ortiz as the shooter, police said.

No motive has been given for the Streeterville shooting. Police previously said they believed the incident was related to a theft from a vehicle inside the same garage that was reported about an hour before the man was shot.

Prosecutors charged Ortiz with felony aggravated assault by discharging a firearm and felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was ordered held without bail.

State records show Ortiz has been on second chance probation for burglary since last year. He was charged with theft, narcotics, and a violation of his probation in December. He posted bond to get out. Then, he was charged with criminal trespass to a residence in March. The court released him on a recognizance bond. He failed to appear repeatedly and has been put on and taken off electronic monitoring repeatedly since then (he was off at the time of the Streeterville shooting, but back on when he was arrested for it).

Ortiz is due back in court for the shooting case on September 24th.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Uptown: Man recovering after Tuesday morning stabbing; Woman mugged; No injuries reported in Saturday gunfire


Here are some recent reports from the Uptown neighborhood:

• An Uptown man is in good condition after being stabbed by a known offender on Tuesday morning, police said.  The victim was in the 4600 block of North Broadway, not far from the Family Dollar Store, when he got into a dispute with another man and wound up being stabbed in the left side of his upper chest, according to police. A weapon was recovered at the scene.

The offender, who police said is an acquaintance of the victim, is described as black, 40- to 50-years-old with a mustache and long gray hair that is styled in braids. He was wearing a white tank top at the time of the stabbing and was last seen walking northbound on Broadway with a woman, according to a witness.

• Police said a woman was knocked to the ground and robbed of her purse in the 1400 block of West Leland on Sunday afternoon. The victim was walking when the offender threw her to the ground while wrestling away her handbag around 3:20 p.m. Police described the offender was a thin white male in his 20’s with light facial hair who was wearing a dark hoodie. He was last seen running westbound on Leland.

• No injuries were reported (but some property damage was) after two rounds of gunfire in Uptown on Saturday.

The first incident was reported in the 4400 block of North Racine around 6:30 a.m. The next morning, two residents who live on the block called the police to recover shell casings from outside their homes.

At 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, shots were reported in the area of Racine and Sunnyside. Witnesses saw people running in all directions after the gunfire, but the gunman was never located. At noon the next day, a resident called the police to report a hole in their back door and a bullet lodged in the hallway of their home in the 4400 block of North Magnolia.

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Roscoe Village: Minutes after praying on restaurant patio, man robs Chase Bank — "Tell the police Rico did it!"

The suspect is seen outside a Roscoe Village restaurant minutes before he robbed a nearby bank. | FBI
A man who was seen praying with a prop skull on a Roscoe Village restaurant patio Tuesday morning later robbed a nearby bank and told the cashier, “Tell the police Rico did it!”

Police said that around 8:50 a.m., a restaurant worker in the 3300 block of North Hoyne reported seeing a man praying on the eatery’s outdoor patio. The man then left the patio area, leaving a prop skull and some personal items behind.

About twenty minutes later, cops responded to a hold-up alarm at Chase Bank, 3531 North Western, and learned that the branch had just been robbed by a man who matched the description of the restaurant patio suspect.

Police said the man entered the bank and gave the teller a note demanding $10,000. “Tell the police Rico did it,” the man said. He then left the bank with cash stuffed into a shopping bag, according to police.

Officers searched the area for the offender, but he remained on the loose at midday.

He is described as a Hispanic man between 25- and 35-years-old who stands 5’9” to 5’11” tall and has a mustache or goatee. He wore a yellow hat with a Puerto Rican flag on the front and was last seen riding a black mountain bike southbound on Western.

A police officer on scene said that a bank worker estimated $210,000 had been taken in the hold-up, but the accuracy of the estimate could not be immediately verified.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Cops: At least *TWO* robbery teams are posing as ride-hail drivers on North Side

Approximate locations of robberies by male and female teams posing as ride-hail drivers.
Chicago police today warned the public about a second robbery crew that is posing as ride-hail drivers in River North, Lincoln Park, and Old Town. The warning follows a series of alerts that police have issued since July about a similar operation.

The offenders in the latest alert are men while the earlier alert’s suspects are women. Otherwise, their techniques are essentially the same: They either solicit rides while posing as a ride-share service or they pose as ride-hailing cars in busy areas where victims enter their vehicles by mistake. Once the victims are inside the car, the offenders either rob them at gunpoint or beat them until they surrender valuables, according to police.

In at least once instance, police believe the offenders' car may have had a fake taxi light on its roof, according to a source.

Police said the male robbery team members are black, 25- to 30-years-old, 5’8” to 5’10” tall, and 160- to 170 pounds. Their robberies have been reported during early morning hours at the following locations:
• The first block of West Hubbard on Saturday August 18
• The 1400 block of North Halsted on Saturday, August 25
• The 1500 block of North Wells on Wednesday, August 29
• The 400 block of North State on Thursday, August 30
• The 1700 block of North Halsted on Sunday, September 9
The female crew is black, 20- to 30-years-old, 5’5” to 5’9” tall, and 120- to 150 pounds, according to police. The women’s robberies have been reported during early morning hours at the following locations:
• 700 block of North Larrabee on Sunday, June 24
• First block of West Hubbard on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, August 5
• 600 block of North Franklin on Sunday, July 22
• 400 block of North Dearborn on Friday, August 10
• 2100 block of North Dayton on Sunday, August 12
• 2300 block of North Ashland on Friday, August 31
Cops have also issued safety tips for ride-hail app users:
• Confirm the driver, color, make and model of the vehicle before entering
• Let someone know where you are going by using the app’s “share my ETA”
• Never allow the driver to convince you to pay cash. Only pay via the app
• Never show or hand your credit card to a ride-hail driver. There is no need for them to have your card as payment is arranged via the app
• Trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t get into the vehicle
• “Most importantly,” the tip list says, “drink and socialize responsibly”
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Man carjacked while unloading vehicle Sunday afternoon

Approximate location of Sunday's carjacking
Police said a man was battered and carjacked as he unloaded his vehicle near the border of Uptown and Lakeview on Sunday afternoon. No one is in custody.

A police spokesman said the 24-year-old victim had removed items from his trunk and was walking toward his home in the 4000 block of North Kenmore around 3:45 p.m. That’s when three offenders approached him and one pressed a hard object into his back while demanding the man’s car keys, police said.

After getting the man’s keys, the three offenders ran to the victim’s car and got in. The victim tried to pull the driver out of the car, but the offender accelerated and dragged the victim for a short distance, according to police.

The victim suffered visible injuries to his leg, but he declined medical attention.

A silver 2012 Subaru Legacy
The stolen car is a silver 2012 Subaru Legacy with a license plate that begins with Q445. The vehicle was last seen heading eastbound on Irving Park Road.

According to the victim, the offenders were three black men between 18- and 20-years-old. One of them wore a denim jacket.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Lakeview wrap-up: Woman robbed at gunpoint; Mob batters Boystown shop worker; “Biscuit” returned to owner

Here is a review of some recent happenings in the Lakeview neighborhood:

• Police said a woman was robbed at gunpoint as she walked away from her car in the 1700 block of West School Street around 4:25 a.m. on Friday. The woman was leaving the vehicle when she was approached by a man who pointed a gun at her forehead and demanded money, according to a police spokesperson.

The victim told the offender that she didn’t have any money, so he went into the victim’s pocket and grabbed her keys and miscellaneous items. Police said the woman was not injured.

According to the victim, the robber is male, black, 17- to 19-years-old, about 5’10” tall, and 150- to 170 pounds. He wore a gray hoodie with ripped blue jeans and was last seen heading southbound.

• A group of 15 men and women entered a Boystown adult bookstore and battered one of the employees with a clothing rack on Thursday evening, police said.

According to a police report, the mob entered The Ram bookstore, 3511 North Halsted, around 5:40 p.m. and began a verbal altercation using profanities with the employees. A member of the group—described as a black male in his late teens with blonde hair—picked up a clothing rack and swung it, striking a male employee in the head. The group then ran from the store and were last seen heading eastbound on Brompton, according to a witness. The victim was transported to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition.

Ashkar and Biscuit | Facebook
• Biscuit, the Australian Shepherd reported stolen in a Lakeview burglary this week, has been reunited with its owner.

Ben Ashkar, 31, spread news of the theft via Facebook after the break-in was reported in the 1300 block of West Belmont on Wednesday.

Ashkar picked Biscuit up from Chicago police on Friday. Further details about the burglary and dognapping were not released, but indications are that the thief may have known Ashkar.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Court report: Probation for taxi driver who molested passenger downtown; Prison for CTA tunnel robbery; More

Some criminal cases we reported on previously have reached their conclusions in court. Here are the details:
Murasbek Elchiev was accused of sexually abusing a female passenger in River North; CPD; File
• A Chicago cab driver has pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal sexual abuse of a female passenger who got into his taxi in River North earlier this year. Sixteen other felonies, including kidnapping, attempted criminal sexual assault, theft, and unlawful restraint were dropped in the plea deal that was approved by Judge Erica Reddick.

Murasbek Elchiev, 27, picked the woman up in the 300 block of West Ontario early on March 3rd and then locked the cab’s doors and covered a surveillance camera, according to police. Prosecutors said Elchiev drove the intoxicated woman in circles, continually asking for sex and eventually grabbing the woman's breasts. Police arrested him later the same day in a parking lot at O’Hare Airport.

Gentry | CPD
• Michael Gentry has received two year’s probation for burglarizing a Wicker Park home in August 2017. Notoriously, Gentry was located by police because he took time to stop and masturbate in a nearby gangway after breaking into the home, according to prosecutors.

Judge Lauren Edidin approved the plea deal that reduced Gentry’s charge to attempted burglary. His sentence will run concurrent to another two-year probation term that he received for head-butting a glass window in the Leighton Criminal Courthouse last year.

A Wicker Park resident called police around noontime August 13, 2017, after he saw Gentry enter his home and steal an iPad in the 2000 block of West Le Moyne. Cops were speaking with the victim when another 911 call was dispatched: A woman on a nearby street said a man was masturbating outside of her house—and her description of the man closely matched the burglary offender.

Officers said they rolled up to the woman’s home just in time to see Michael Gentry take off running. They caught up with him nearby.

Joseph Lewis pleaded guilty to robbing two women in Boystown on the same night. | CPD; File
• Guilty pleas in two Lakeview robberies have earned a Morgan Park man two consecutive three-year prison terms.  Police were assisted in their investigation of Joseph Lewis by a photograph of the offenders’ license plate that was taken by a witness to one of the robberies, according to a source.

On December 3, 2016, a woman told police that several men cornered her near the 1200 block of West Waveland around 2:50 a.m. on and then began to chase after her. The woman said the men threatened to kill her if she did not stop running.

At around the same time, another woman reported being robbed near Fremont and Grace. The second victim’s friend snapped a photo of the getaway car and police were able to forward the license plate information to other officers who soon found it on Lake Shore Drive.

Police pulled the vehicle over just south of North Avenue around 3:10 a.m. and all three occupants were identified by the robbery victims. Cops found proceeds from the robberies inside the vehicle, police said.

Now, Lewis is heading to prison. With 259 days credit for time served and an automatic 50% sentence reduction for good behavior, he is expected to be paroled in about two-and-a-half years. Judge Shelley Sutker-Dermer approved the plea deal.

One of his accomplices is currently imprisoned for shooting a man in Ohio. The other, Jwan Farley, was given a four-year prison sentence in May.

Daniel Grunauer pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer behind the 19th District station. | CPD; File
• The one-time Boystown bartender who went to prison for arson, then tried to sexually assault a man near the 19th District police station less than four months after being paroled, is back in prison.

Police said 34-year-old Daniel Grunauer approached a 21-year-old man in the 3600 block of North Fremont and “told the victim he was under arrest. The offender then tried to rob and sexually assault the [man]" around 5 a.m. on October 29th last year.

An off-duty officer who was arriving for work at the police station saw the incident unfold and interrupted the crime, police said. Grunauer was arrested nearby minutes later.

Grunauer reached a deal in which he has pleaded guilty to felony impersonation of a police officer in exchange for a six-year prison sentence. Seven other felonies, including attempted criminal sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated battery, and unlawful restraint were dropped in the agreement that was approved by Judge Timothy Joyce. Grunauer is scheduled to be paroled October 23, 2020.

In 2014, Grunauer was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary and a concurrent three years for arson in connection with an intentionally-set fire in an Uptown apartment development.

At the time, Grunauer was considered the prime suspect in a series of alley fires that plagued Wrigleyville and Boystown during the summer of 2014. Many of the fires took place after bar closing time near Grunauer's then-workplace: Fiesta Cantina at Clark and Roscoe.

Grunauer was also mentioned as the main attraction in the next-to-last tweet from Oak Park gay bar Velvet Rope before it burned down in an arson fire in June 2012.

Velvet Rope owner Frank Elliott pleaded guilty to having the bar set ablaze in an insurance scam and received probation. Elliot also briefly operated Bonsai Bar on Boystown’s Halsted Street bar strip. Grunauer often picked up hours at Bonsai, a source said in 2014.

Grunauer was never charged with the Oak Park fire or the local alley blazes. Notably, the alley fires ceased after he was arrested on the Uptown burglary and arson charges.

Sawyer and a CTA surveillance image of a suspect | CPD; CTA
• Two men have pleaded guilty to battering and robbing a 17-year-old boy in the Loop’s CTA pedestrian tunnels in February. One of the men had been on probation for another robbery for just eleven days at the time of the crime.

Delonte Sawyer, 21, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and received a four-year sentence. Dernandiez Lindsey, 18, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and received 30 months probation. Sawyer’s parole date is set for February 21, 2020.

Lindsey | CPD
Prosecutors said Sawyer, Lindsey, a juvenile and an unknown fourth offender confronted a 17-year-old boy in one of the pedestrian tunnels under State Street and demanded his property around 7 a.m. on February 13th. The four then battered the victim, took his Gucci belt, debit card, and $7 cash, according to prosecutors. A CTA surveillance camera captured images of Sawyer, Lindsey, and the other two suspects as they headed toward a train after the robbery, according to police. The victim was treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

On February 2, just days before the Loop robbery, Sawyer received probation for beating and robbing a Valparaiso, IN, man in Boystown last year. Sawyer was accused of repeatedly punching the 22-year-old victim and taking the man’s wallet along with other valuables on the Boystown bar strip.

In exchange for his guilty plea in the Boystown case, Judge Timothy Chambers sentenced Sawyer to a cakewalk sentence of 24 months probation and time served of 301 days.

Bovit | CPD
• An Uptown man has pleaded guilty to burglarizing three North Side synagogues in exchange for two-years probation from Judge Lauren Edidin. David Bovit, 28,  had been charged with stealing money from donation boxes and offices at Khal Ohr Yisocher synagogue, and Congregation Tiferes Yisroel, Congregation KINS in spring 2017.

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