Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Old Town man charged after phone theft victim fights back, police say

Monty Morgan | CPD

A 19-year-old Old Town man’s face wound up worse for wear after he allegedly stole a phone that he had arranged to purchase.

Police said Monty Morgan and a 36-year-old Bridgeport man agreed to meet in the 1200 block of North Larrabee so Morgan could purchase the other guy’s $900 iPhone. But, when the two got together around 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 8th, Morgan took the phone and ran away, the alleged victim said.

The alleged victim tackled Morgan in a nearby parking lot, and a fight broke out. Police said Morgan punched the man repeatedly in the face, prompting the alleged victim to “defend himself.” The victim suffered a bloody nose, bruising, and a bite to the back of his left arm, police said.

And Morgan's mugshot shows he was not unscathed.

Meanwhile, a witnessed jumped into the fray and helped hold Morgan down until police arrived.

Prosecutors charged Morgan with felony theft and misdemeanor battery. Judge John Lyke released him on a recognizance bond.

Police said the phone was never found.
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Edgewater man accused of beating, robbing woman who wouldn't let him use her phone

Alex Diamond | CPD
An Edgewater man is charged with robbery after he allegedly beat and kicked a woman, then stole her phone because she would not let him use it, according to court records.

The 20-year-old victim told police she was walking in the 6100 block of North Clark around 11:30 p.m. Thursday when Alex Diamond asked if he could borrow her phone. When the woman refused, Diamond struck her repeatedly in the face, kicked her, broke her glasses, and threw her to the ground, the woman said.

Diamond is accused of then taking the woman’s phone and walking away.

A local resident called 911 and police stopped Diamond a few minutes later in the 5700 block of North Clark. The woman subsequently identified Diamond as the attacker and the cellphone he was carrying as her own, police said.

“I took her phone because she wouldn’t let me use it," Diamond allegedly told officers as their body-worn cameras were recording.

Prosecutors charged Diamond with felony robbery, and Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $10,000. The 44-year-old will be required to go on electronic monitoring if he can post a 10% deposit bond of $1,000.
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Two robbery alerts issued for West Loop neighborhood

Police have issued two community alerts to warn about separate robbery patterns in the West Loop. Investigators typically release an alert when they believe a person or group is responsible for a series of crimes.

In the first alert, police said a striped white Chevrolet Camaro is being used as by a man who robs pedestrians in the West Loop. The offender is getting out of the car to take the victims’ property by force. He then returns to the car and drives away.

Incidents were reported in the 700 block of West Adams at 7:40 p.m. on July 19th and on the 200 block of South Morgan at 1:04 p.m. on Aug. 10th, police said.

The offender in the first incident is described as a black male between 12- and 17-years-old, who stands 5’3” tall and weighs about 120 pounds. In the second robbery, the offender was male, black, 15- to 20-years-old, and 5’8” tall with short hair.

The second alert, police said a gunman has robbed convenience stores in the West Loop and nearby Little Italy twice since July 31st. Money and merchandise have been taken in the hold-ups.

One robbery was reported at 4:35 a.m. on July 31st in the 1500 block of West Taylor. Police described the offenders only as two black males.

The second incident was on the 200 block of South Racine at 12:26 a.m. on Aug. 4th. Police said the robber was male, black, about 6-feet tall, and 200 pounds. He wore a black hoodie with white stripes on the sleeves with black pants and white gym shoes.

A red Honda Civic was used in one of the robberies, but police did not specify which one.

Information regarding the robberies may be shared with Area Central detectives at 312-747-8380. The street robberies are listed under pattern P19-1-265 while the convenience store hold-ups are under P19-1-263.
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Monday, August 19, 2019

Private video network plays key role in nabbing Roscoe Village arsonist

Andrew Hogrefe (inset) and images of the fire being set. | CPD; Roscoe Village Neighbors
A Joliet man is facing arson charges after he allegedly set fire to patio umbrellas at a popular North Side restaurant. And a locally-operated surveillance network gave police investigators a powerful assist.

Around 2:50 a.m. on Aug. 14th, police responded to a fire on the patio of Beat Kitchen, 2100 West Belmont. Officers found plants lying in the street and three dining umbrellas on fire, according to a CPD spokesperson.
Armed with a description provided by a witness, police detained a 40-year-old Andrew Hogrefe minutes later on the 3200 block of North Lincoln.

Prosecutors charged Hogrefe with felony arson to real property and Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $50,000. Hogrefe is due back in court on Wednesday.

Detectives secured video from the Roscoe Village Neighbors camera network that shows a man setting fire to one of the umbrellas. In the video, the arsonist is seen walking at the top left of the screen, crossing the street, and then starting the fire.

About six minutes into the footage, a motorist stops his truck and appears to call 911. Then, around the 6:49 mark, the man runs off-screen, as if he is chasing someone. Police arrived 20 seconds later, followed by the fire department.

Police found a mailbox smoking from an apparent fire on the 1600 block of West Melrose shortly after the Beat Kitchen incident. So far, no charges have been filed in that matter.

Footage of the arson in progress is the latest in nearly a dozen police assists that the Roscoe Village Neighbors’ video network has provided since being established last summer.

The group spent $40,000 to install more than 25 high-definition security cameras and license plate readers during its first phase. Earlier this month, RVN invited more local businesses and residents to get involved during the project's second phase.

Parties interested in joining the Roscoe Village network may email the organizers: info@RoscoeVillage.org
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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Gunday: Man on electronic monitoring for gun charge is found with another gun in Old Town, cops say

Baldwin after his gun arrests in August (L) and June. | CPD
A five-time convicted felon who had been on electronic monitoring since police allegedly found him with a stolen firearm in June was arrested again last week after police said they found him with another handgun in Old Town.

Michael Baldwin, 27, put down a $1,000 deposit bond to go free on electronic monitoring after police said they found him with the stolen handgun in the Austin neighborhood on June 11th.

Prosecutors charged him with being a felon in possession of a handgun and possessing a stolen firearm.

Then, police arrested him again on Aug. 9th after they allegedly found him with another handgun on a sidewalk near his home in the 1300 block of North Hudson. Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $5,000, requiring Baldwin to put down a $500 deposit to go free. As of last week, prosecutors had not filed a violation of bail bond charge in the June case.

Baldwin has been convicted of felony burglary five times since 2010. He received five years in 2016; two years in 2015; 3-1/2 years and a concurrent four years in 2012; and one year in 2010. All of the burglaries occurred in Old Town.

He is due back in court on Wednesday for the June case and on Sept. 9th for the August allegations.

Kimbrough | CPD
• Police downtown met with a man near Dearborn and Wacker around 8p.m. on Aug. 8th after another man allegedly displayed a handgun on the street. Officers searched the area and stopped 39-year-old Shawn Kimbrough near State and Hubbard because he reportedly matched the gunman’s description as provided by the witness. A holstered handgun was recovered from Kimbrough’s waistband, police said.

Kimbrough has a Firearm Owner’s ID card but does not have a concealed carry license, according to his arrest report. Prosecutors charged him with felony unlawful use of a weapon. The original 911 caller declined to file assault charges. Judge John Lyke required Kimbrough to make a $500 bail deposit to be released on electronic monitoring.

McCoy | CPD
• A South Chicago man who’s on probation for illegally possessing a handgun is now charged with having a gun illegally near this month’s Lollapalooza festival.

Covert officers from the Chicago Police Department intelligence unit were working the concert area when they saw three men running in the 1000 block of South Michigan around 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 2nd. The cops said they saw one of the men toss a handgun to 20-year-old Charles McCoy who allegedly picked up the gun, put it in his waistband, and continued running.

Officers arrested McCoy in a nearby Trader Joe’s parking lot. McCoy was carrying $4,338 cash and had pills that police suspect were MDMA, Xanax, and hydrocodone, according to an arrest report. McCoy denied ever having a handgun.

Prosecutors charged McCoy with felony unlawful use of a weapon and three felony counts of narcotics possession. Judge David Navarro set bail at $40,000. McCoy was ordered held without bail on a violation of probation charge.

Rutherford | CPD
• An Alabama man has been released on a recognizance bond after police said they found him in possession of two handguns during a domestic incident at a River North hotel. Officers said they saw Gerald Rutherford throw hotel furniture and wine glasses at his girlfriend inside the Dana Hotel, 660 North State around 5 a.m. on Aug. 8th. The woman, who was treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for scratches and bruises to her face and neck, refused to sign complaints against Rutherford, police said. An officer personally signed the domestic battery complaint against him as required by state law.

Rutherford, 34, is charged with four misdemeanors: two counts of unlawful use of a firearm, criminal damage to property, and domestic battery. Judge Ericka Orr released him on his own recognizance.
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Downtown: Armed robbery charge for man who's been released on three recognizance bonds since July 23rd

Havid Narvaez (inset) and the Wendella ship Lila returning to dock near the Michigan Avenue bridge. | File; CPD
We’ve frequently reported on criminal defendants who’ve been arrested on new charges while free on Cook County’s “affordable bail” program. But Havid Narvaez has raised the bar for such stories.

Since July 23rd, he has been charged with breaking into a car, released, skipped bail, charged with burglarizing a Chicago River tour boat, and then released again. Now, he’s charged with armed robbery. It was a busy three weeks.

Let’s start at the beginning.

On July 23rd, Narvaez was arrested after multiple witnesses reported seeing him breaking into a car in River North. The witnesses and police chased him into a post office parking lot, where he was found hiding behind some delivery trucks, police said. Officers recovered a “slim jim” car-opening device and a knife from Narvaez, who was charged with attempted criminal trespass to a vehicle, felony possession of burglary tools, and misdemeanor criminal damage. Judge Charles Beach released him on a recognizance bond.

One week later, Narvaez, 29,  failed to show up in court, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

That same night, surveillance video allegedly recorded Narvaez as he jumped a fence and broke into the cabin of a 350-person tour boat at the Wendella cruise line dock, 400 North Michigan. He was arrested the next morning when a Trump Tower security officer who was familiar with the break-in saw him and alerted police.

Officers said Narvaez caused $2,000 worth of damage to the boat by cutting wires to its sonar, radar, and security equipment. He was charged with felony burglary and felony possession of burglary tools. Judge Beach once again gave him a recognizance bond, while ordering him held for failure to appear in the July 23rd case.

Four days later, on Aug. 5th, Judge Michael Hood nixed the no-bail order and released Narvaez on another recognizance bond.

Things were uneventful for Narvaez for almost ten days until he was arrested late on Aug. 14th for armed robbery in the Loop.

Police were called to the first block of East Randolph around 11:30 p.m. after a man reported that two strangers had just beaten and robbed him at knifepoint, according to a CPD spokesperson.

The 25-year-old victim told police that both robbers punched and kicked him while Narvaez displayed a knife and took his property. Cops took Narvaez into custody nearby after the victim identified him as one of the offenders. The other attacker has not been found, police said.

Narvaez, arrested under the name “Mijad Escobar,” is charged with armed robbery. Bail has been set at $100,000.
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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Alderman claims "great results" from Cannon Drive parking ban, but statistics show her boast is bunk

The 2400 block of North Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park. | Google
A Lincoln Park alderman Friday said the three-week ban on overnight parking along Cannon Drive has produced “great results” and implied the restrictions are responsible for a drop in “serious crime.”

Unfortunately for Ald. Michele Smith, the city’s own statistics show her claims are not true. In fact, crime along Cannon Drive was at its lowest point in nearly 20 years when a lakefront shooting prompted the city to ban parking on the street between Fullerton and Diversey.

In an email newsletter item headlined, “Great Results on Cannon Drive,” Smith told constituents:
From January 1 until July 26, 2019 (before the restrictions began), police documented 18 serious crimes, from car break-ins to assaults, culminating in the shooting of seven people on the lakefront on July 20. These numbers do not include numerous instances of police breaking up parties and other disturbances that did not result in arrests.
Since the parking restrictions have taken effect there have been only two thefts and one battery (a fight on a docked boat in the harbor that resulted in an arrest).
First things first. According to city data, there was only one “serious” crime along Cannon Drive this year before parking restrictions went into place. A couple reported that someone pulled a gun on them near Fullerton Parkway shortly after 1 a.m. on June 9th.

Cannon Drive crime was at a 19-year low before the parking ban.
All of the other crimes that the alderman called “serious,” were not. There was one car stolen. Another car was damaged (probably during a break-in). And all of the other crimes were thefts—likely from parked vehicles.

Even if the alderman’s characterization of the crimes reported was true, her numbers do not represent a decline in crime at all. She said there were 18 crimes during the first 30 weeks of the year and three crimes in the three weeks since the parking restrictions were rolled out. So, there was one crime every eleven days before the restrictions and one crime every seven after. That sounds like an increase.

Statistics from the city’s data portal show crime on Cannon Drive was actually at a 19-year low through July 26th. So, there really was no Cannon Drive crime wave to begin with.

Since July 26th, there have been three crimes, Smith said. That is in line with previous years.

What’s notable about the post-parking restriction number is that it’s not even lower. Records show that the vast majority of crime on Cannon Drive is theft from vehicles, theft of cars, and damage to vehicles. So, one might expect crime to drop significantly once cars are prohibited from being there seven hours a day.

Gathering Spot

Ald. Michele Smith | Twitter
The mistake the alderman is making is simple. Police want to ban parking on Cannon Drive to prevent people from setting up car parties and hanging out all night. That’s because a series of disturbances on Cannon preceded the lakefront shooting on July 20th. But you can't justify a parking ban with feelings.

So, she went for some statistics. And, so far, they show neither a decrease in crime nor any indication that late-night partiers were responsible for a rise in criminal activity before the ban.

The only measure of success the alderman and police executives have is that there hasn't been a shooting on Cannon Drive since the parking restrictions began. Of course, there hasn't been a shooting on Cannon Drive since 2012, so going three weeks without one is hardly notable.

Smith's office did not respond to an email for comment on Friday.

Editor's note: Smith's email stated there were 18 crimes on Cannon Drive this year before the parking restrictions began. City data shows there were seventeen. Our chart reflects the city's data. 
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Revolving door: Man accused of Loop window smashings was charged with similar crime wave in Rogers Park this summer

Patrick Newton (L) and the Loop suspect. | CPD
We thought he looked familiar. Now we know why.

The man accused of breaking out dozens of car windows with rocks in Loop parking garages this week was charged earlier this year with breaking out car windows across the Rogers Park neighborhood.

Patrick Newton, 29, was arrested around 10:30 p.m. Thursday after a witness saw him throw a rock through a car window, police said. Officers realized that Newton was the same man seen in an alert that police issued earlier in the week about a series of similar crimes in nearby parking garages.

Prosecutors on Friday charged Newton with five felony and two misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property. But police say dozens of vehicles were damaged altogether. A judge set bail at $20,000.

Back in mid-May, police issued a community alert after car windows were broken out with rocks on the Far North Side. Newton was eventually charged with eight counts of felony criminal damage to property in connection with those cases.

He later struck a plea deal in which prosecutors dropped seven of the felonies in exchange for a 30-day jail sentence. Judge Donald Panarese oversaw the case.

While Newton was free on a recognizance bond in that case, he went to west suburban Brookfield where police say he broke out 23 car windows in on June 13th and 14th.

Newton was turned over to Brookfield authorities a few days later after Chicago police found him breaking car windows in Hyde Park. He was charged with three counts of criminal damage in the suburban case. A judge this week ordered him held without bail on a violation of bail bond charge in that case.
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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Cops say he had all of these guns and explosive ammo — a judge lets him go for $500

James Mather (inset) and a collection of guns, ammunition, and accessories that police accuse him of having. | CPD
A North Side man posted just $500 to get out of jail after police allegedly found five six firearms, explosive bullets, a silencer, and anabolic steroids during a raid last week.

Officers from the Shakespeare District armed with a search warrant raided a home in the 2900 block of North Western Avenue shortly before 11 p.m. on Aug. 8th, according to a police department spokesperson.

The search yielded a trove of guns, ammunition, and narcotics, but the target of the search warrant was not present, the spokesperson said.

James C. Mather, 33, was arrested the next day when police returned to the Western Avenue address.

Prosecutors charged Mather with felony possession of a firearm without a valid Firearm Owner ID (FOID) as well as five misdemeanor counts of unlawful use of a weapon, misdemeanor possession of exploding bullets, misdemeanor possession of anabolic steroid, and a city violation of possessing a firearm silencer.

State law defines an “explosive bullet” as an “ammunition cartridge which contains or carries an explosive charge which will explode upon contact with the flesh of a human or an animal.”

Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $5,000 and Mather went free by posting a 10% deposit bond of $500. Chicago Police Department records show that Mather was charged with domestic battery and criminal damage to property on July 8th. He was arrested again for domestic battery on July 23rd, CPD records show. The outcomes of those cases were not immediately available.

Lincoln Park gun arrest

Frank Saporito | CPD
Police recovered a handgun and arrested a man after officers were flagged down by a concerned citizen in Lincoln Park late last month. The witness told police that they just saw a man with a handgun go down an alley behind the 2200 block of North Lincoln around 4 a.m. on July 27th.

Police stopped 40-year-old Frank Saporito nearby because he resembled the gunman’s description as provided by the witness. After the witness identified Saporito, officers found a handgun in the alley where the witness said the gunman had gone.

Prosecutors charged Saporito with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and obstructing identification. Judge Charles Beach set bail at $20,000. However, Saporito is being held without bail on an unrelated warrant.

From six felonies to one misdemeanor

Sam Jimenez | CPD
A man who was charged with six felony gun counts in connection with an incident outside a River North nightclub last autumn has reached a sweet plea deal.

Police said in a press release last year that Sam Jimenez Jr approached a group of people outside a nightclub on the 300 block of West Huron and struck a man in the face with a handgun on Halloween night. During a struggle for control of the gun, Jimenez “discharged the weapon several times,” the CPD statement said. He allegedly fled the scene after a bystander gained control of the weapon, but police arrested him nearby a short time later.

A grand jury returned a true bill charging Jimenez with six felony counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

But prosecutors this month reached a plea agreement with the 22-year-old in which he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of reckless conduct. Prosecutors dropped all of the weapons charges, and Judge Earl Hoffenberg sentenced Jimenez to a year of court supervision.

Life’s a beach

William Cage | CPD
An Elgin man who was charged with bringing a loaded handgun to North Avenue Beach on Memorial Day weekend last year has also reached a favorable plea agreement with prosecutors.

William Cage, 22, told police that he forgot to remove his brother’s handgun from his backpack before taking the bag to the beach on May 28, 2018. Officers found the weapon during a routine search at an alcohol checkpoint, police said.

Cage was charged with two felony counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. But prosecutors agreed to drop both felony counts and allowed him to plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of carrying a firearm. Judge Mary Margaret Brosnahan approved the deal and sentenced Cage to a year of misdemeanor probation and 30 hours of community service.
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Two robbed at gunpoint in Lincoln Park; Cops find weapon, but offenders get away

A robbery offender may have run right past officers responding to an armed robbery in Lincoln Park on Wednesday evening. But, whoever he was, he got away. Cops did, however, find a replica handgun that the man apparently dropped when he saw officers coming his way.

Police said a man and a woman, both 19-years-old, were approached by three offenders who robbed them at gunpoint in the 400 block of West Fullerton around 9:30 p.m.

A passer-by called 911 to report the robbery, but both victims were gone when police arrived a few minutes later.

One CPD unit reported seeing a man sprint past them as they drove near the robbery scene on the 2400 block of North Lakeview. But the running man did not match the descriptions of the robbers as given by the 911 caller, so officers did not immediately believe that he was involved.

The victims later walked into the 18th (Near North) Police District station to report the robbery. By that time, the running man was long gone. But officers who searched the area where the man was seen running found a handgun lying outside 2430 North Lakeview. A police department spokesperson said the weapon is a “replica,” which suggests that it is a BB or pellet gun that resembles a “real” handgun.

Police did not provide a description of the offenders and details offered by the 911 caller differed significantly from the man police saw running into the park at Lakeview Avenue.
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