Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cops identify robbery pattern in Uptown, nearby Lakeview

Approximate locations of the five robberies listed in detectives' new alert.
Police say a robbery crew is responsible for mugging at least five people since Nov. 21st in a concentrated area of Uptown, Lakeview, and Ravenswood. A community alert issued by police said a small group of offenders is either approaching victims from behind or engaging them in conversation before battering and robbing them. The offenders have been armed with a handgun in some cases, police said.

Detectives typically issue community alerts when they believe that a series of crimes are the work of a single individual or group.

Here are the dates and times of the five robberies included in the alert along with CWBChicago’s original reporting for incidents, if available:
• 4500 block of North Ashland at approximately 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 21st 
An Uptown woman was robbed of her car keys and cell phone in an alley between the 4500 blocks of North Paulina and North Ashland. The woman suffered facial injuries from a man who implied that he was armed.  She described the man as being black, over 6-feet-tall, and wearing an olive green hoodie with black pants. He was last seen heading southbound and then westbound.
• 1300 block of West Sunnyside at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 28th 
An Uptown man reported being attacked and robbed at gunpoint by a group of people. One of the offenders pulled out a gun as others hit him from behind, the man reported. After taking the man’s phone, the group fled eastbound on Sunnyside. The offender with the handgun was a tall black male who wore a red hoodie, according to the victim.
• 4600 block of North Ashland at approximately 8 p.m. on Nov. 28th
No further information is immediately available. The incident was not reported until Nov. 30th, according to city records.
• 4500 block of North Ravenswood between midnight and 2 a.m. on Dec. 2nd 
No further information is immediately available. The incident was reported several hours after it unfolded, according to city records.
• 1100 block of West Wilson at approximately 2:40 p.m. on Dec. 10th 
A woman reported that a man threw her down, spit in her face, and stole her phone near the Wilson Red Line station. Several witnesses reported seeing the robbery take place moments after a group of men flashed gang signs and began fighting outside of a nearby convenience store. The primary offender was described as a black male between 18- and 20-years-old who stands 5’7” tall. He was wearing a black coat and was last seen heading eastbound on Wilson.
Anyone with information about these cases may contact Area North investigators at 312-744-8263 regarding crime pattern P18-N-313.
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Cops: Fake contractors and bogus city workers continue to burglarize homes on North Side

A burglary ruse in which thieves pose as city workers or contractors to gain entry to homes is the focus of a new community alert from Chicago police. CWBChicago first reported on the scam on Nov. 18th after incidents were reported in Lakeview and Roscoe Village.

Most recently, a Lincoln Park resident called police after a man posed as a contractor and asked for permission to enter their apartment to complete repairs on behalf of the landlord around 4 p.m. Monday in the 800 block of West Lill. The tenant wisely called their landlord first and learned that no work had been ordered.

And, according to the police department alert, similar incidents have been reported in the Albany Park, Irving Park, and North Park neighborhoods since Nov. 20th.

Police say it is typical for one member of the team to ask the resident to take them to a remote area of the building to access a phony repair site while other members of the team burglarize the victim’s residence.

The suspects are described as white and/or Hispanic men between 21- and 30-years-old who stand 5’6” to 5’10” tall and weigh 150-200 pounds. They have been seen using a beige-colored pick-up truck, police said.

Anyone with information about these crimes may contact Area North detectives at 312-744-8263 regarding pattern P18-N-310.
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Robbery victim beaten, kicked, tazed by 4 men in Loop parking garage, police say

(L to R): Clarion Edwards, Corey Edwards, and Sterling Bryant. Mugshot of RD Peaches was not available. | CPD
A 43-year-old man was tased, kicked, battered, and robbed by four men as he tried to get into his car in a Loop parking garage Tuesday evening. Police said all four offenders are in custody.

Around 9:10 p.m., the man was entering his car in the garage at 801 South Financial Place when the group pushed him to the ground and began kicking him. The robbers then tased the victim on his lower back and demanded his property, police said.

Responding officers recognized the robbery offenders’ descriptions from an earlier call about a group of men wiggling doorknobs in a nearby apartment building. Armed with the descriptions, police located the robbery suspects near the Walgreens at 501 West Roosevelt Road. A Taser was recovered during the arrests.

Charged with one count of felony armed robbery with a dangerous weapon are  21-year-old Clarion Edwards; 18-year-old Sterling Bryant; and 20-year-old Corey Edwards, all residents of Englewood, and RD Peaches of the Austin neighborhood. Police did not have Peaches’ age or mugshot available on Thursday evening. The four men were ordered held without bail.

The robbery victim was treated by EMS.
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Suspicious neighbor leads cops to drugs, cash in Uptown

James Burrell and some of the items police say they seized from his vehicle and clothing. | CPD
One concerned resident’s 911 call about a suspicious vehicle on their block ended with the seizure of drugs and cash from a “known criminal street gang member,” Chicago police said.

Officers responded to the 1100 block of West Winona in Uptown around 10 p.m. on Saturday after someone reported that a man had been sitting inside a parked Lexus for an hour, according to a police report. Police approached the car and allegedly saw the driver, 33-year-old James Burrell, sweeping something off the center console. The smell of burnt pot spilled from Burrell’s car when he rolled down a window to speak with police, officers said.

Approximate location of the arrest
Police said they saw a bag of cannabis in plain view and six baggies of suspected heroin on the driver’s floorboard. There were 21 bags of crack cocaine in Burrell's pants pocket, police said. A jacket in the car contained eleven more bags of suspected crack, 25 packaged ecstasy pills, 21 amphetamine pills in a prescription bottle, and $800 cash, according to court records.

Burrell is an admitted member of the Black P-Stones, police said.

Prosecutors charged him with felony possession of heroin; two counts of felony possession of crack cocaine; felony possession of Ecstasy; and felony possession of amphetamine. Judge John Lyke set bail at $10,000.
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Aldermen propose fines, jail for bogus ride-hail drivers

Four Chicago aldermen on Wednesday introduced legislation to make impersonation of a ride-hail service driver a crime punishable by fine or jail time. The proposal comes in the wake of widespread reports of robberies, sexual attacks, and other crimes by individuals who posed as drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other ride providers to lure victims into cars.

The ordinance would make it illegal for a person to pose as a ride-hail driver to “defraud or deceive” another person. Unlawfully displaying a ride-hail service sign or using counterfeit signs would also be outlawed. Violations could result in fines of $500 to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to 90 days or both.

Aldermen Brendan Reilly (L) and Michelle Smith
Lincoln Park Alderman Michele Smith (43rd) and downtown Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) are sponsoring the legislation along with Anthony Beale (9th) and Ed Burke (14th).

“The City Council needs to act now to make it clear that impersonating a rideshare operator is against the law and carries with it strict penalties,” Burke said.

Recognizing that some Chicagoans may desire stiffer penalties for fake ride-hailers, Reilly tweeted, "This is the most the City of Chicago can do to address this issue. I'd be thrilled if the state of Illinois would pass much harsher penalties for this - as a serious felony crime."

Chicago would become the first city in the country to pass a law that provides for fines and jail time for ride-hail impersonators, according to a statement from Smith’s office.

“Chicago already prohibits the impersonation of police officers, firefighters, and city officials but does not yet prohibit the impersonation of transportation network providers,” Beale said.

Police have issued a series of alerts over the past 18 months to warn the public about fake drivers who victimize passengers. At least two robbery crews are believed to be posing as Uber drivers to lure passengers in the city’s nightlife districts.
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Business burglaries continue on North Side; Loop clothing store struck twice in a week

A recently-looted Verizon store in Edgewater. | Provided
More North Side businesses have fallen victim to burglars who are targeting small electronics and cash that has been left in registers. Chicago police issued warnings about similar crimes in October, November, and earlier this month.

The most recently-targeted businesses include Allende restaurant, 2408 North Lincoln, on Dec. 3rd; Los Arcos restaurant at 5525 North Clark on Dec. 5th; Oberweis Dairy, 3055 North Sheffield, at 7:23 a.m. on Dec. 6th; My Eye Doctor, 3760 North Broadway, at 7:07 a.m. on Dec. 8th; and BB Cleaners at 4638 North Clark on Dec. 8th.

A witness saw the Oberweis burglar throw bricks through the shop’s front door to gain entry. The burglar was gone by the time police arrived. Front glass has been broken or rear doors pried open to gain entry to the targeted shops.

Loop double-dipper

This man is sought in connection with two burglaries of a Loop clothing store. | CPD
Meanwhile, police in the Loop are searching for a man who broke into a downtown Akira store twice last week.

The Loop incidents are not believed to be related to the burglaries reported farther north, according to a source.

A community alert issued by Area Central detectives said the man seen here forced his way into a store in the 100 block of South State by breaching the revolving door at 1:40 a.m. on Dec. 5th and again during the early morning hours of Dec. 9th. Once inside the store, the man “took as many articles of clothing as he was able to carry,” police said.

Police did not identify the Akira store by name, but the location was confirmed to CWBChicago by a source.

The suspect is described as a slim black male in his early 30’s who stands about 5’6” tall and has dreadlocks. He was seen wearing a Cubs coat.

Detectives offered several tactics for businesses to curb burglary risks:
• Keep the perimeter of your property well lighted.
• Update security video equipment.
• Report suspicious activity immediately.
• Keep doors and windows secured.
• Immediately repair any broken windows, doors or locks.
• If you are a victim do not touch anything, call police immediately.
• If approached by a witness to the incident, request contact information.
Anyone with information about the suspect seen in the photo can contact Area Central detectives at (312) 747-8384 regarding cases JB540658 and JB546084.
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Cops seek driver in West Loop hit-and-run

The actual vehicle that was involved in the collision. | Chicago Police Department
Chicago police investigators are asking for help in tracking down a car that struck and seriously injured a 59-year-old woman in the West Loop on Friday night.

Police said a dark-colored Dodge Charger with tinted windows was being driven recklessly in the 500 block of West Washington around 10:48 p.m. when it struck the woman in a crosswalk at Clinton Street. The car continued eastbound after the collision, according to police.

Stock photos of a similar vehicle. | Chicago Police Department
The vehicle police are seeking may have front-end damage on the passenger side, detectives said in a bulletin.

Anyone with information about the vehicle is asked to contact the Major Accidents Investigation Unit at 312-745-4521 regarding case JB-544495.
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Heightened security planned after "threat" found at Lincoln Park HS

Snapchat image of the threat | Provided
Lincoln Park High School (LPHS) officials are promising “additional security precautions” after a threat to “shoot up” the school was found on a bathroom wall Wednesday morning.

“I am shooting the school up 12/14/18,” the post reads. “Not playing either. You’ll see. Warned you. Didn’t listen.”

Snapchat images of the threat were sent to CWBChicago by a concerned adult.

“It’s terrifying,” the man said, “and the student that I know will not be going to school the rest of this week.”

LPHS Principal Michael Boraz told parents in an email “We will use our metal detector and X-ray machines to scan all students and their personal items such as book bags.”

Area North detectives are investigating the handwritten threat.

Perhaps as troubling to parents as the threat should be the numerous blue smudges that surround it on the bathroom wall. The blue streaks appear to be the remnants of gang graffiti, including pitchforks, that were never fully-removed.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Armed teens continue carjacking spree despite arrest

A 16-year-old boy who carjacked a Lakeview woman at gunpoint this week has been involved in a series of similar crimes on the North Side since July — and he along with other robbery crew members continued to carjack people on the North Side even after one of their accomplices was arrested last month, according to Chicago police reports.

The teen was today charged as a juvenile with three felony counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, felony possession of a stolen vehicle, and aggravated fleeing.

Police said in a statement that he was arrested shortly after noon on Tuesday in the 7900 block of South Throop. Officers tried to pull him over for a minor traffic violation, but the boy accelerated, crashed, then ran from the scene on foot. He was captured moments later. The car he was driving, a 2013 Volvo SUV, was taken in an armed carjacking in the 1400 block of West Byron around 3:15 p.m. on Monday, police said.

A woman was loading the car when three masked men approached her vehicle and forced her to surrender the SUV at gunpoint, police said.

At the time of yesterday’s arrest, the boy was being sought in connection with two other armed carjackings on the North Side: one in the 4200 block of North Kenmore on July 19th and the other in the 4800 block of North Paulina on Nov. 2nd.

A 17-year-old male was charged in connection with the Paulina carjacking as well as another armed hijacking in the 1100 block of South Jefferson in early November. Despite his arrest, other members of the robbery team have apparently continued to carjack victims at gunpoint across the North Side, including Monday's victim on Byron.

Chicago police seemed aware that the crew had not let the arrest hinder their crime spree. On Nov. 12th, a week after the 17-year-old was charged with two carjackings, police re-issued a community alert that warned about continuing incidents on the North Side. As CWBChicago reported,
While one member of a North Side carjacking crew has been captured, Chicago police... issued a fresh community alert about vehicular hijackings that are connected to the criminal team. [The] warning may be an indication that detectives believe the gang is still committing crimes.
The teens’ brazen behavior even after one of their colleagues was arrested seems to indicate that they are not concerned about Cook County’s juvenile justice system.
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Wrigleyville home invasion brings attempted murder charge

Lorenzo Shorter attacked the woman in a third-floor apartment in this courtyard building, police said.
A North Lawndale man was charged today with attempted murder and other felonies in connection with a Monday afternoon home invasion in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.

New details about the incident emerged during an afternoon bond hearing for 22-year-old Lorenzo Shorter at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Lorenzo Shorter is surrounded by police Monday in the 3400 block of North Seminary. | Mark Weyermuller
Prosecutors said Shorter entered the victim’s courtyard building in the 900 block of West Cornelia around 3:20 p.m. Monday and eventually walked into her third-floor apartment. Shorter put a 29-year-old woman who lives in the unit into a headlock that caused the woman to have difficulty breathing, prosecutors said. She broke free, locked herself inside her bedroom, and called 911.

Shorter grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen, began stabbing the kitchen wall, and broke contents of the apartment and a front window, according to police.

Responding cops pursued Shorter from the apartment building, beginning a 10-minute foot chase through Wrigleyville in which police units ran interference ahead of Shorter to keep unsuspecting passers-by from encountering him as he allegedly swung the butcher knife as he ran.

Prosecutors today said Shorter was pepper-sprayed by police in the 3400 block of North Seminary and that he swung the butcher knife at the head of an officer who moved closer to take him into custody. The officer was not struck by the blade, but Shorter was immediately tazed by three patrolmen, according to a police report.

Video not loading? Click HERE.

Shorter is charged with attempted first-degree murder; Class X felony home invasion causing injury; felony aggravated battery - strangulation; felony resisting police; and misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon with intent to use. Judge Michael Clancy ordered him held without bail.

Prosecutors today said the victim recognized Shorter from the neighborhood, but she did not know him. As CWBChicago reported on Monday, there was some initial confusion about if the attacker was known to the victim because a 911 caller identified him by name — “Zoe.”

Court records show that Shorter has only one previous criminal case in Cook County. On May 18th, Chicago police arrested Shorter after he jumped a turnstile at the State-Chicago Red Line station and then refused to present identification so officers could issue a ticket. Police said at the time that Shorter was in possession of a Texas driver’s license. Shorter was sentenced to two days time served in that case.

Police have yet to determine if Shorter has any connection to a home invasion on Sunday morning in the 700 block of Buckingham in Boystown. In that case, a 23-year-old woman told police that she woke up shortly after 6 a.m. to find a man standing over her bed. The intruder hit her in the head with a wine bottle and a porcelain dish and then stole valuables before running from the scene.
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