Friday, May 09, 2014

KEEPING CRIME "DOWN": That Guy Didn't Steal Your Phone, You Lost It

That's what a Chicago Police officer told a CWB reader when she tried to file a theft report yesterday afternoon. The story goes like this:

Also not a crime (sometimes):
Stealing someone's phone.
The woman walks out of Marshall's on Fullerton Avenue and realizes that her phone is gone. She runs inside and asks a Marshall's employee if they've found her phone. Nope.

She borrows the store's landline to call her husband. He tracks her phone to a nearby Sports Authority. There sits the guy who was in line behind her at Marshall's.

"Hey? Did you happen to pick up my phone by mistake," she asks. He jets off and hubby tracks the phone as it moves around the neighborhood. 911 is called.

Then, the Marshall's manager walks into Sports Authority with the woman's phone. A CTA bus driver saw a guy throw it into the middle of Fullerton and decided to hand it in.

Police show up. The victim gives a full description of the offender, his car, and his plate number. The cop says call 311 and file a report on the phone. A good number of people would never even bother to make the phone call and sit on hold.  And one less crime would be recorded.

But this woman does call. The officer on the phone refuses to file a theft report. When she asks why, the officer hangs up on her. Now, at that point, even more people would give up. Crime down!

But our intrepid reader calls back and asks for a supervisor. He says "no," to her request for a report and hangs up on her, too. (More crime down!)

She calls back AGAIN. An officer finally agrees to file a report —for "lost property," not theft (#HX253545). So, this incident is still not a crime.

There are all sorts of stories about how elements within the Chicago Police Department manipulate reports and statistics to keep crime "down." Downgrading serious crimes to lesser crimes. Downgrading lesser crimes to non-crimes.

We see it all of the time. Five people surround you, go through your pockets, and take off with your valuables. That's a robbery in most parts of Illinois. Not here, though. That was only a "theft" when a victim reported it in Wrigleyville.

Last month, Chicago magazine even showed how the department appears to downgrade some murder cases.

Yeah. Crime is down.

If He Doesn't Fit, You Must Re-Equip

A unicorn, er, a squadrol.
It all seemed so simple. An officer prepared to take a man into custody, apparently for drinking near the L tracks in the 1000 block of Irving Park Road Thursday evening.

What followed was a genuine cluster, all because the police department did not have a paddy wagon available on the entire North Side of the city. Here's the tick-tock.



6:28PM - Officer makes a street stop, determines that the man should be taken into custody. He requests a "wagon."

6:40PM - Dispatcher asks for a regular patrol car that has a protective cage around the back seat to go pick up the arrestee. Officer on scene says, no, the arrestee is VERY large and he must have a normal, old-school paddy wagon.

6:42PM - Dispatcher says one of the 19th district "wagons" today is actually just a Chevy Tahoe patrol car. The other one will come.

6:43 - Wait. The other one is a van, not a squadrol. Will the guy fit in a van?

6:45PM - Officer repeats, "We can’t transport him in a Tahoe" or a van. "If [the 19th district doesn't have a] squadrol, get one from another district."

6:48PM - The 18th district will send one of their squadrols.

7:09PM - The 18th district shows up. It's a van, not a squadrol.

7:10PM - Dispatchers have checked with all North Side districts. None has a squadrol.

7:14PM - Dispatcher is getting permission from her supervisor to ask a South Side district to provide a squadrol.

7:14PM - A sergeant arrives at Irving Park. Says to hold off on the South Side request while he analyzes the situation.

[Analysis ensues.]

7:15PM - Sergeant tells the dispatcher to send an ambulance because, while the arrestee is not injured, he will at least fit inside of an ambulance.

7:49PM - Ambulance takes the arrestee away.
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32 comments:

  1. After I was robbed in Lakeview, dealing with the police/detectives was frustrating. A day after speaking with the police, I noticed a charge posted to my canceled credit card from a gas station (the robbers used my card). When I called to reach the detective that was “working” on my case - I was told she was on vacation and then they just hung-up on me. I called back, explained to them that I had details about my case and a possible lead. The officer asked for my case number (which I didn't have on me at the time). She immediately became very irate and impatient when I asked her if there was any other way she could look it/me up. Immediately after asking my question, she responded with “no, call back with your case number” and hung-up on me before I could even say anything else. I left the office to run home and get the case number so that I could provide the police with the new details.

    A few days later, there was no follow-up. So I did the detective work myself. I looked up the gas station; spoke with the person who was managing surveillance equipment. I would have had images of the robbers’ car, plates and faces if only we didn’t wait so long. They only had a few days of data storage for their cameras and the information had been lost by then.

    My detective returns from vacation a few days later. After informing her of my own detective work, she became defensive and blasted me with, “That’s my job, that’s what I’m here for”.

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    1. Better be careful - her union may file a complaint against you for doing her job more effectively than she,,,,

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    2. Anthony, you should have filed a complaint with OPS against the detective. Just call 911, and ask them to transfer you to OPS. Make sure they (OPS) give you a C.R. (complaint register) number. This detective's supervisor would have to investigate this complaint. Most supervisors hate doing this, and, eventually, will straighten an officer like this out.

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  2. THIS POLICE DEPARTMENT IS SERIOUSLY F***ED UP.

    I am literally speechless at the way this poor woman was treated by the police for TRYING TO REPORT A CRIME. Whose side are the police on???

    And regarding the officer trying to take a man into custody: what, did the guy weigh 400 lbs or what? Cluster f*** is right.

    This city is going to hell. And summer hasn't even started.

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    1. "God didn't bring me this far to drop me off here". I'm not even religious.

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  3. Very Very often there are no paddy wagons available in this district or the entire North Side. You should also start a log on the status of them, as per department directives two are required to be on the street for each shift in each district.

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    1. And let's call an ambulance to take care of it. As if the medics aren't busy enough transporting this guy for a headache or that gal for a stomach ache. Medics are already transporting drunks because there is no more drunk tank. And city ambulances are in short supply because it's a constant run, run, run for bs, while, like CPD, there serious calls are getting a serious delayed response. Now they have to transport because some guy is too fat to fit in the back of a squad? Unreal, or is it?

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  4. The police supervisors need to be held accountable for the situation on Fullerton with the woman's cell phone. Is this the way they do business now? No wonder the crime reports suggest that crime is waaaay the fuck down in this district. Hello? Anyone? Voulgaris? Rahm? Timmie Tunnie? Anyone out there? Anyone care? Anyone? Bueller?

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  5. Ok people here is the fact... As ugly as it may seem, no one saw the guy take the phone! She noticed her phone was missing, not that someone took it from her. The police can not report based on "assumptions" yes the guy ran after being confronted, yes he most likely took it, but it could also be that he found it and thought he was going to get in trouble for having it so he ran... The lost case report is correct because that is all the police had to go on. The way 311 treated her is inexcusable

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    1. Nope. Wrong. Even if he came into possession of it by finding it lost, he then stole it when confronted by the rightful owner. His scare level is irrelevant. At the very least, this is theft of lost or misplaced property. The would ofs and could ofs are for court.

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    2. VOTE YOU FUCKERS. VOTE!

      We are not being represented

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    3. Sadly they do vote…for the same idiots over and over again.

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    4. The owner lost the phone. Lost/Found case report. If the offender is caught, he is charged with theft of lost or mislaid property.

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    5. This si addressed to "The lost case report is correct".

      If you are right on the facts you're 100% wrong on the law. This is straight theft according to ILCS (720 ILCS 5/Art. 16, Subdiv. 5 GENERAL THEFT) and you could even construct it a few different ways.

      http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=36000000&SeqEnd=37300000

      So you can try your best to reconcile the abhorrent behavior of CPD here with how professional police officers should treat a member of the public. I guess that's opinion. Even the dull and the ignorant are allowed to hold those. But don't beginthink about pretending laws regarding abandoned property apply here.

      If you insist on being obtuse and want to argue the man picked up the phone without malice while in line at the store ok. But once he was informed the phone was not abandoned he was required to return it. After not returning it he fled. Flight is incontrovertible evidence of consciousness of guilt.

      The statute calls it a crime and the circumstance make prosecution tenable.

      I can't imagine why you would defend CPD's decision here? I mean unless you reflexively defend everything they do. In that case even you can't defend the way they treated the diligent crime victim. So you're just a shill, and a not very clever one. Next time you want to toss in your legal expertise you had better do your homework. I'll be waiting.

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    6. Yes. Regardless of how he came to possess the phone, not returning it upon request was theft in and of itself. Whether the police department catches the guy has no bearing on the criminality of his actions.

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  6. I have very little faith that if something did happen (robbery, assault, etc) that CPD will actually help out. It's been my experience that I'm disturbing them and going to get arrested if I ask for their help.

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  7. Anonymous, ok try that one in court, offender then says "that dude yelled at me, I got scared and ran, never gave me a chance to explain." Case gets thrown out instantly, guy then says the police didn't investigate his claims of being assaulted by a guy asking for a phone and he was unjustly arrested and case was then thrown out... Guy sues city and arresting officers... It's a lost case report period

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    1. Runaway train much? Absolutely none of that happened here nor would it happen. This woman's report was mishandled and classified incorrectly.

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    2. Basically you are stating you have no idea of police procedures. Do I think the guy stole the phone? Yes. Would it hold up in court (and you are correct to state that the only charge could be theft of lost or mislaid property because no one saw dude take anything), I can't tell you the last time in cook county ANYONE was convicted of theft of lost or mislaid. The ASA's can't wait to drop the charges when it hits their desk.

      Perception is one thing, reality is another. Lost case is correct based on what was reported, 311 was improper in the way they handled their end.

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    3. If they would of reviewed the store video they would probably have known exactly what happened.But since it s just a minor crime they wouldn't even bother.

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    4. So, if I go into a retail establishment and see merchandise on the floor, and I decide to take the merchandise without paying, it would only be considered theft of lost or mislaid property and the proper classification of retail theft (0860) would be inapplicable? Nice try! Clearly this asshole intended to permanently deprive the owner of the cell phone. Unfortunately, you are a police officer and have no understanding of the law, or PROPER police procedures for that matter. Thanks for embarrassing the rest of us that actually try to do the job!

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    5. No it is not theft. Mislaid means when the rightful owner (the individual with the current possessory interest) leaves an item at a location and taken in the totality of the circumstances all indications are that person intends to return to retrieve the item. It was not "lost" in the traditional sense because the rightful owner knows where it was unintentionally left and plans to return to retrieve it (based on the value of the item, the manner in which it was left, where it was left...) A retail store has not "unintentionally left an item with the intent to return and retrieve" when a shirt falls to the floor. When you take a chattel with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner if their exclusive use, you committed a theft. When you take a chattel that was left with the intent of the true owner to return and retrieve, and you have the intention of depriving that person of the use of it then you have committed theft of mislaid property. I'll give you that one for free kid...any more and I'll have to charge you my usual rate!

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  8. They were killing crime. Keeping the stats low and not serving the public.
    Under the Illinois Uniform Crime Reporting (IUCR) guidelines, the report should have been classified as a Theft of Lost/Mislaid Property.
    It's a farce of a police department. But a well-paid one at that.

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    1. And you get this knowledge from where? Your extensive viewing of Chicago PD? No one saw guy take phone, no one witnessed a theft, they tracked phone down to an area where dude was in, did they see him with the phone? Because if not EVEN if the police were there it is questionable on whether or not a search of that person would be legal (4th amendment issues, now IF she could have called the phone and it rang in guys pocket, there would be enough reasonable suspicion to search). See what you, and others see as cut and dry isn't. See people have been crying for decades about police abusing their powers, this is the other end of the spectrum. If the police follow all the rules little gets done because the game is in the offenders hands. Two things though
      1. Original cop should have taken the report, that was lazy, on a lost case report and incorporate all of what happened in case the offender got caught later
      2. 311 is a joke

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    2. Are you seriously claiming this isn't a theft? The guy picked it up with the intention of returning it to its rightful owner, and NOT depriving said owner, permanently of the value/use/benefit of the cell phone? 19P, kid! Now get back to watching Netflix and bitching about how everyone thinks the police in 019 (including other POs) are lazy.

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  9. Who was this lazy officer that would Not do his or her job and take the report and be the Police???
    Have they just become this lazy and act like they are bothered and want to go back to doing nothing??
    Are there any supervisors working in the day?

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  10. Emanuel is a master of spin and he knows how to play the media and manipulate the numbers like he is doing with crime stats. McCarthys police department is told to lower stats so the Emanuel spin machine can continue the crime is down mantra. He must be defeated and the officer who hung up in the victim should be disciplined. Contact office of professional standard. We need a strong anti-crime mayor and it is not Emanuel. Emanuel is a liar and would rather give tax dollars to developer contributors rather than hire police. Fioretti is the anti crime mayor we need.

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  11. And no, I did not pepper spray my assailant, he walked into it...While lunging for my new iPhone !

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  12. Over on Second City Cop Blogspot there is posting on McCarthy and Rahm wanting to shut that blog down. Can we say Chicago has a Dictator in charge.

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  13. And this folks is why I have to give into my wife's demands to move to Naperville after being a Lakeview/ Wrigleyville resident for over 20 years. My votes against office holders that condone this type of BS are drowned out by the clueless masses, so I'll take my good resident-nature (and my income that I pump into local businesses and restaurants) elsewhere.

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    1. Yep. Were leaving also. Family of 4. High way 8 Wisconsin. Nothing can fix this.

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  14. surprised they didn't use that big ol' CPD bus for this guy. it's not like it was serving any other purpose.

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