Friday, January 09, 2015

ROYALLY PISSED: Lame Charges Ire Catalytic Converter Victims

24 sawed-off catalytic converters x 5 gang members = a bunch of misdemeanors?

Yep. Five members of the Traveling Vice Lords street gang were found hiding on a Lakeview rooftop after allegedly crashing their van Tuesday—a van containing 24 catalytic converters that had been sawed off of vehicles in the Lincoln Park and Lakeview neighborhoods.

Each of the men is charged with one count of trespassing (being on the rooftop) and one count of theft of lost/mislaid property (the pile of catalytic converters.)

How does one come into possession of 24 "lost" catalytic converters? Only a Cook County prosecutor knows.

CWB readers heard the story and they are pissed-the-F-off. They've called and emailed aldermen, police stations, and us.
I was one of the victims of these thugs…Clearly there should be 24 counts as they stole 24 catalytic converters. I know this will cost me at least $1000 to have repaired and my car cannot be driven because the exhaust system or what remains of it is hanging on the ground.
Many, many neighbors have been in touch over the past couple of days, all victims of "cat thieves."

One ex-copper has an insider's view:
The on-duty watch commander dropped the ball on this because, frankly, he or she  didn't give a shit. They need to come to a CAPS meeting and explain why they didn't fight to the death to get felony charges approved…Fucking lazy and useless.  
Yeah. That's history now. And once the prosecution case is laid out, it's not easy to upgrade:
Sounds like the challenge is identifying victims and the damage to each person which in my understanding would help the prosecutor. I will go to court and do whatever I need to do to help escalate the charges. Since the police cannot identify all the victims they will need people to come forward. Other than me, I am not sure how many others were identified of the total of 24 victims.. perhaps other victims will be able to help in this matter as well.
If you or someone you know had their catalytic converter stolen in Lake View, Lincoln Park, or North Center early this week, report it to 311 and insist—insist—that the case be cross-referenced with HY105569. And let us know if we can help.
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22 comments:

  1. Just a note. To get a felony charge (burglary or theft) you have to prove what catalytic converter came from which vehicle. Prove, beyond a reasonable doubt. I can bet that was the impetus behind the misdemeanor charges. It may take a lot longer than 48 hrs (the time you can hold someone before charging them) to make these connections. Charges can always be upgraded in court. Even for a felony "possession of stolen property" you have to first prove that each converter is stolen, again tying that converter to a car and owner. Not an easy task. Actually an impossible task. Again, that's why the misdemeanor charges. This is reality, not TV. Sorry.

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    1. CWB, thanks for acting as a clearing house for this. At least YOU give a shit, and the community greatly appreciates all that you do.

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    2. It is possible that some of the stolen parts have VIN numbers on them.

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    3. Unfortunately catalytic converters are not embossed with a VIN. That's why stealing them is so lucrative. It is virtually impossible to identify and owner with only a catalytic converter and nothing else.

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  2. To all victims: Please also include police report number hy106347 in your cross-reference. We need your help to get the word out so as many victims as possible file a report, and come to court. Get a written estimate for your damages or the actual invoice for repairs. Contact Det Weisser 312-523-8657 and contact your alderman's office as they can help as well. I just got word from Tom Tunney's office that the next court date will be on Wednesday, January 28. It will be on the 9:00 am docket at the courthouse located at Belmont/Western (2452 W. Belmont). If you are a victim and cannot be present your alderman or the Detective should be able to help. Alternatively, if you contact CWB they can contact me and I will help. I parked my car at 8PM on Monday night January 5th. The traffic accident that unveiled the stolen property was at approximately 5AM on Tuesday morning January 6th.

    If you are on social media, please make a post so that your friends/neighbors in these areas know what to do if they were a victim. If they got in their car and started it anytime after Tuesday January 6th at 5AM and it sounded like a very loud motorcycle this is a telltale sign that they were a victim. Anyone looking at or under the car will be able to readily see that the CC was sawed off, and likely the muffler is hanging down. If I had not been notified by the police as a victim (one of the suspects flipped and helped ID some of the targeted cars) I would not have realized that the CC was stolen, I might have just assumed something was wrong with my muffler, however, when I tried to drive my car I could not go far because the muffler was hanging on the ground. We need to do what we can to get these gang members the strictest charges and sentences possible. We have to take back our neighborhoods and discourage this activity in anyway. Since they make $100 per CC this likely rivals their drug activity with a lot less risk. All of these perpetrators have existing narcotics possession and distribution charges as well as other priors.

    Anyone anywhere can have their CC stolen in a matter of minutes. This is obviously a lucrative business for them or they would not do it. Not sure if these guys are still in jail or out on bail. Their bail was only $10,000 each. - Susan H

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    1. Thank you for all of the information here and in our direct communication, Susan. We're all fortunate to have you as a neighbor.

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  3. The on-duty watch commander has nothing to do with this case. Felony charges were pushed, auto theft detectives were called in (which never ever happens) but since converters have no identifying markers, felony review will not prosecute. The State's Attorney's office will only give Felony charges if they are 110 percent sure they can win. Great job by the police, unfortunately, the police are the only 1 of the three layers of protection that actually work. State's Attorney's office=useless kids just out of law school. Judges= political hacks appointed by the Democratic Party of Cook County. The losers=the public, and their servants, the police.

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  4. Read Tunney's newsletter emailed today, strong publicity on the catalytic converter bust - but no word / mention that the offenders got off scott free.

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    1. If I was the alderthing/alderman, I would send out email blasts about these sorts of things IMMEDIATELY. Not a day later, after I got my information from reliable sources such as CWB, DNAInfo Chicago, etc. What an assclown!! And yeah, some selective reporting in his "newsletter."

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  5. From an inside guy!

    Felony review is utterly useless! It is a "bunch of, out of Law School kids" that have to go ask a Stupervisor on upgrading anything!

    The whole Felony review process keeps Police from charging career criminals, unless it is a slam dunk case because the lawyers are either "too stupid or lazy" to push for Felony Charges!

    Other clueless lawyers are afraid of losing a case, lest their so called careers get stymied!

    I know, I have been doing Police work for over 25 years and will retire soon out of 019 District! When I do retire, good luck to all in 019 District, your gonna need it, lots of incompetence to go around!

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  6. Well, demand the manufacturers place the VIN on the thing! I thought the cops were demanding ID from sellers of these things before the chop yards could buy them? Plus, I really think many people are trying to get out of extra work. This lax result is just an example of a frustrated PD because the courts and prosecuters take the easy way out of everything. How do we change this?

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    1. Unfortunately, the CC is essentially a wear item. As is the rest of the exhaust from the manifold/headers back. This would be like asking the manufacturers to stamp your wiper blades, tires, etc. Granted the CC lasts a lot longer than those items (much longer), but I think it would be a tough sell to the car manufacturers.

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  7. It's a shame twinkle toes Tunney doesn't spend as much time fighting crime in his district as he does keeping his Facebook page clear of negative comments.

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    1. Or writing his pitiful and useless "newsletter," wherein this week's edition prioritized the catalytic converter piece at #4, behind some idiotic photo ops. That pretty well sums up how high crime is (not) on his list of priorities. Go ahead, residents of Lakeview, vote for this clown again. It IS possible to unseat him and it IS possible to get fresh blood into Ward 44 to try to do something about the myriad issues. And it IS possible to create a cinnamon bun that isn't so syrupy sugary sickeningly sweet and sticky.

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  8. There are a number of ways to deter CC theft that individual car owners can take. You can have an ID# etched onto the CC. You can have the bolts that attach the CC to the car WELDED on . There protective devices that can be fitted over the CC and attached to the car frame. Here is a good article that explains 9 different methods to deter this crime." Catalytic Converter Theft + 9 Ways to Stop It | Pro-Vigil"

    Etching doesn't prevent the crime but provides a way to link the part to your car. anyone in possession of the part w/o your permission is in possession of stolen property. the other methods can be done by a local muffler shop but of course there is the expense. Perhaps if enough people were interested a local muffler shop could offer a group rate to install some protective devices . Just a few suggestions to deal with a really aggravating crime that is probably a low priority for the police. Hope it helps.

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  9. FYI ~ Another police alert from early this am

    Police warn North Side residents of strong-arm robberies

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-police-warn-north-side-residents-of-strongarm-robberies-20150110-story.html

    Also, referring to princely one's son's mugging, last night on Chicago Tonight, they said it was at gunpoint. That's the first time I heard mention of a gun.. I must've missed something. Makes the whole debacle even more shocking and proof of unacceptable police management incompetence.with 24/7 security coverage.

    The segment about the prince and then the mugging starts at 15:05. (Let's hope the ridiculously huge campaign warchest is NOT all it takes.).

    http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2015/01/09/chicago-tonight-week-review-19

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    1. The information on the broadcast is incorrect. It was not an armed robbery nor was a gun involved.

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  10. Thank you = very important to know. Why would they say that? Possible it's been covered up from the public? Would not surprise me.

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    1. Because he was ad-libbing and made a mistake.

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    2. OK .. thanks very much.

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  11. No such thing as watch commanders anymore

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    1. Maybe, but considering there is still a "watch commander's office" and a "watch commander" section on arrest reports, we'll bet ya figured it out.

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