Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Lakeview: Four homes burglarized on a single block since Sunday, cops say

Police said four homes have been targeted in the 3800 block of Janssen (red line) and one on nearby Greenview (blue).
Four homes have been burglarized on a single Lakeview block since Sunday, police said. And a fifth home has been targeted on the next street over. That’s according to a community alert issued by Area North detectives late Tuesday night.

Investigators said the burglar entered homes in the 3800 block of North Janssen and the 3700 block of North Greenview through unlocked front or rear doors.

The offender was spotted in one incident. A witness described him as a 30- to 40-year-old black man wearing a gray hooded jacket, according to police.

Police said three burglaries in the 3800 block of North Janssen occurred on April 21st: One between 10:25 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.; another between 12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and the third between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Another home on the same block was targeted on April 22nd at 12:30 a.m.

Most recently, a home in the 3700 block of North Greenview was burglarized at 3:55 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23rd.

Police are encouraging residents to tell their family and friends about the alert and to ensure that windows and doors are secure.

If you have any information about these crimes, contact Area North investigators at 312-744-8263 regarding pattern #P19-N-108.

Old Town shooting leaves man in critical condition

The shooting scene was centered near 424 West Goethe, where the injured man was found. | Google
A chaotic shootout in the Old Town neighborhood has left a 21-year-old man in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Police said the victim was standing on the sidewalk in the 400 block of West Goethe when two offenders walked up and began shooting at 9:28 p.m. on Tuesday. The man suffered severe blood loss from a gunshot wound to his left thigh. Police officers were on the scene almost immediately and attempted to slow the man’s blood loss with a tourniquet.

Emotions ran high as residents from nearby apartment buildings spilled onto the streets. At one point, a police dispatcher asked all available units in the local police district to respond to the area of the shooting to help restore peace as fights broke out.

Windows were shot out in at least a half-dozen apartments across a block-square area. Every apartment with bullet-damaged windows was searched by officers to ensure that no residents had been struck by errant gunfire.

A significant number of shell casings, unspent ammunition, and even an abandoned handgun were found spread across three streets, leading police to conclude that more than one person was firing shots during the incident.

Officers who reviewed surveillance images said they believed a white Nissan Altima with tinted windows was used by the shooter. Area Central detectives are investigating.
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Court report: Sentences handed down to three North Side burglars

Theodore McGill | IDOC
Sentences have been handed down for three burglars we told you about on CWB. Here’s what’s happened:

• It’s back to prison for  Theodore McGill, a career felon who has pleaded guilty to committing three burglaries in the Lincoln Park neighborhood this winter. Judge William O’Brien sentenced the 54-year-old to serve three concurrent six-year terms. McGill's parole date is set for Feb. 2, 2025.

Officers responding to a call of a burglary in progress in early February saw McGill in the area with $1,200 bike and a power saw. Police soon learned that the bike and saw belonged to the 911 caller who had summoned them to the 2400 block of North Southport just after 3 a.m.

Further investigation revealed that McGill also stole a tent and inflatable mattress from another garage on the same block and property from another residence on the 2400 block of North Janssen, according to court records. Police also reported seeing McGill try to pry open a gate and fence as they arrived on-scene.

State and court records show that McGill was sentenced to two concurrent nine-year prison sentence for burglaries committed in 2012. Yet he managed to be released from prison in March 2017 after serving less than five years.

Prior to that sentence, McGill was sentenced to eight years for burglary in 2007; three years for theft in 2005; six years for burglary in 2001; two years for theft in 2000; six years for burglary in 1997; six years for armed robbery in 1994; three years for burglary in 1991; and two concurrent three year terms for robbery and aggravated battery in 1989. McGill was released early each time.

Andy Bimbo | CPD
• A man who posed as a city worker to burglarize a home in the Irving Park neighborhood has received a four-year sentence. Andy Bimbo, 29, pleaded guilty to one count of burglary in exchange for the deal from Judge James Obbish who also levied a $609 fine.

Prosecutors said Bimbo and career burglary Sandy Miller schemed their way into a home in January. One of the men distracted the homeowner while the other allegedly collected valuables.

Miller is due back in court on May 9th.

Esene Henderson | CPD
• An Englewood man has received four years of TASC probation—also known as “substance abuse probation”—for burglarizing a home near Wrigleyville last summer.

Two roommates came home to their apartment on the 3300 block of North Clark in late July just in time to seek 23-year-old Esene Henderson walking out their back door, prosecutors said. Police arrested Henderson nearby. Officers said they found two iPhone dongles, headphones, and a battery pack belonging to the victims in Henderson’s possession. And prosecutors said the incident was captured on a home security camera.

Judge William O’Brien approved the plea deal which called for prosecutors to drop a second burglary charge and requires Henderson to pay a $755 fine.

Court report: Sentences handed down in North Side robbery cases

Jodeci Sherels | CPD
Several robbery cases we told you about on CWBChicago have wrapped up in court. Here’s what happened:

• A 26-year-old Michigan man has been sentenced to four years in prison for committing a series of robberies and thefts in River North.  Jodeci Sherels pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and two counts of robbery of a victim over age 60. He received three concurrent four-year prison terms with 208 days credit for time served in the deal that was approved by Judge James Obbish.

Sherels was arrested in September after a man flagged down a police patrol car in the 700 block of North State to report that a man with orange hair had just stolen his cellular phone.

Two other victims reported that Sherels had robbed them at around the same time: One in front of a hotel near La Salle and Grand, the other in a parking garage near Dearborn and Chicago.

An off-duty police officer began chasing Sherels after the garage robbery and detained him for cops near Washington Square Park.

Daniel Espejo | CPD
• Daniel Espejo, who told cops that his 17-year-old female robbery victim was “lucky” they came because he was ready to rape her, has received a three-year prison sentence with 215 days credit for time served. He will be released early from prison on Feb. 28th.

Prosecutors said Espejo, 36, approached the girl and asked for the time shortly before 10 p.m. on October 2nd in the 1400 block of West Foster. He then suddenly grabbed the girl’s purse, and the two wrestled for control of the bag for nearly a minute before a pedestrian intervened and told the girl to take shelter inside a nearby business, police said.

Responding police officers arrested Espejo nearby based on a description provided by the victim.

At the police station, Espejo told officers, “the b*tch is lucky you pigs came because I would’ve raped that little b*tch,” according to court records. He is a self-admitted member of the Latin Kings street gang, according to police.

Judge William O’Brien approved the plea deal.

Marcell Townsend | CPD
• One of Wrigleyville and Boystown’s biggest menaces is finally going to prison—but not for long.

Marcell Townsend, 26, who was accused of taking a suburban man’s phone and transferring money into his own Venmo account without permission, pleaded guilty to one count of theft by deception in a plea deal. Judge William O’Brien sentenced him to two years in prison with credit for 39 days time served. Townsend will be paroled on Feb. 28th. Charges of robbery, theft, computer fraud and wire fraud were dropped in the deal.

Early on Nov. 4, 2018, police were flagged down in Wrigleyville by a man who said Townsend took his phone without permission and then accessed the man’s Venmo account. According to the victim, Townsend transferred $950 from the victim’s bank to Townsend’s own account. Townsend then gave the man his phone back and left, the victim said.

Townsend and his brothers have been repeatedly arrested in Lakeview for narcotics, battery, and theft since 2014. While Marcell has regularly seen charges dropped by the state, his brothers Zikee and  Morgan have not been as fortunate.
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No "Smollett Deal" For You! 77-year-old inventor of the Wrigleyville rooftop suddenly has a criminal record — For filing a false police report

Robert Racky (inset) and the rooftop business he started with three lawnchairs as seen today. | CPD; jessedouglas on Flickr
It’s been quite a ride for Robert Racky. Armed only with a few lawn chairs, the now 77-year-old businessman literally invented the Wrigleyville rooftop business that lets Cubs fans watch home games from the rooftops of homes along Waveland and Sheffield Avenues.

Born eleven days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Racky has a squeaky clean criminal record, too. Well, he did until Monday. That’s when he finally decided to plead guilty after fighting a charge of felony disorderly conduct-false report for eight months. A judge sentenced him to two days in jail that he had already served.

So—unlike TV star Jussie Smollett, who was charged with exactly the same felony as the rooftop king—Racky will be wrapping up his life with a criminal record in Chicago.

Racky called 911 around 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 10th last year, and told an operator that he had been carjacked, his wallet had been taken, and that he was lying on the ground in the 1000 block of West Byron, according to court records. When officers arrived, Racky was lying on the hood of a 2005 Chevy Cobalt that had a Chicago Department of Revenue boot on the front driver’s side tire, police said. The car was registered to his company.

Racky immediately admitted that he had not been carjacked, explaining, “That’s what I told [911] to get you guys over here.” Racky was immediately arrested. When police impounded Racky’s car, they allegedly found a rifle and a shotgun in the trunk.

On Monday, prosecutors dropped the weapons charges completely and reduced the false report charge to Class C disorderly conduct. That's the lowest-level misdemeanor charge in the state. But, prosecutors insisted that Racky had to plead guilty.

There were some clear differences between Smollett’s allegedly fake hate crime claim and Racky’s case. Racky immediately admitted to police that his report was false. To this day, Smollett has not admitted that he made up the story about being attacked by two men who tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and shouted anti-gay, anti-black slurs while calling Streeterville “MAGA country.”

The police investigation of Racky’s claim lasted less than ten minutes. The Smollett investigation took weeks and cost the city over $130,000 in police overtime alone.

No one ever heard of Racky’s false claim (unless you read about it on CWBChicago last year). Smollett and his “close associates” leaked his purported attack story to the Hollywood media and then fanned the flames of hate while the national spotlight shined on Chicago.

And, Racky didn’t have a state-issued Firearm Owner’s ID card.

On the other hand, Smollett had a criminal history of providing false information to police in California, while Racky had never been convicted of any crime despite being twice Smollett’s age.

Smollett’s case was quickly wrapped up last month in a controversial emergency court hearing. Prosecutors dropped sixteen felony counts against Smollett without requiring him to plead guilty to anything. Then, the case was immediately sealed from public view.

Since then, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her top assistants have said the “don’t plead guilty to anything” deal they gave to Smollett was "available to all defendants" in similar circumstances. Despite hours of research, CWBChicago has yet to find a single case that supports the prosecutors’ claims.

Maybe you think that the guns change this case sharply against Racky (even though prosecutors dropped those charges completely). That's understandable. Tomorrow, we'll tell you about one brand new case that parallels Smollett's perfectly...and update you on two others that are still winding their way through court--without a "Smollett Deal."

A Wrigleyville Original

In 1993, Racky told the Broward County, FL, Sun-Sentinel about how he decided to establish rooftop viewing of Cubs game as a business:
My 13-year-old son looked at [a graystone in the 3600 block of North Sheffield] and said, “Dad, why don`t you buy the place and make it a club to watch games? ...I thought that was a great idea. I bought the place, and on the first night game in August of `88 there were three members watching the three innings before it was rained out -- me and my two sons.”
In 1988, Racky established the Lakeview Baseball Club, Wrigleyville’s first rooftop business, at 3633 North Sheffield Avenue. Under his ownership, the club created the now-famous “Eamus Catuli” sign that counted up the number of years that had passed since the once-terrible Cubs last won various post-season championships.
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"Nigerian brothers" sue Smollett attorneys for defamation

Tina Glandian and Jussie Smollett appear in court. | Reasonable Doubt Podcast
Two Lakeview men who police and prosecutors said helped TV star Jussie Smollett stage a bogus hate crime on Jan. 29th have filed a defamation suit against the actor’s Hollywood-based attorneys.

The complaint filed this morning in Chicago’s federal courthouse seeks more than $75,000 each for Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo and Abimbola “Bola” Osundairo from attorneys Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian as well as the Geragos & Geragos Law Firm.

Mark Geragos
Geragos and Glandian are accused of making defamatory public statements against the brothers that were published by local media outlets. Throughout the 16-page filing, lawyers for the Osundairos allege that the comments made by Geragos and Glandian went beyond legal representation as the criminal case against Smollett had been resolved when the actor's attorneys made the allegedly defamatory claims.

The suit focuses on statements made by Smollett’s legal team after criminal charges were wrapped up in a secretive and controversial emergency court hearing on March 26th.

“Face with an outraged public,” the suit claims, Geragos and Glandian “doubled down” by accusing the Osundairos of leading “a criminally homophobic, racist and violent attack” against Smollett.

Geragos and Glandian “made these comments knowing they were untrue to distract from Mr. Smollett’s farce and to promote themselves and the Geragos & Geragos Law Firm,” the suit alleges.

The suit states explicitly that Glandian told a national TV audience that the Osundairos “criminally attacked” Smollett and “may have been wearing ‘whiteface’”  during the purported attack that was implied to be a hate crime.

Glandian’s claims imply that the Osundairos “are guilty of perjuring themselves” before a Cook County grand jury, the suit alleges.

Geragos is also accused of falsely claiming that the Osundairo brothers criminally attacked Smollett.

In an appearance on the “Reasonable Doubt” podcast on April 6th, Glandian allegedly stated that the brothers were involved in “'illegal’ Nigerian steroid trafficking [to]….help clients lose weight.” The Osundairos say that statement against their “all-natural” bodybuilding system is also false and defamatory and was made to “advance Ms. Glandian’s reputation and fame to undoubtedly ruin the Plaintiff’s business.”

During the same podcast appearance, Glandian allegedly implied that Smollet and Bola Osundairo had a sexual relationship. But the brothers say Bola is heterosexual, was dating a woman at the time, and has never engaged in any sexual acts with Smollett.

The allegedly false statements about Bola’s sexuality endangers him and his family members in Nigeria where same-sex sexual activity is socially unacceptable and a criminal offense, the suit claims.

Gloria Schmidt, who represented the brothers during the criminal investigation of the purported attack and subsequent prosecution of Smollett, continues to serve them in the federal case along with attorneys Gregory Kulis and James Tunick, according to the court filing.
• • • 
See all of CWBChicago's previous coverage of the Smollett matter HERE.
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Uptown: Charges filed in carjacking of sushi deliveryman

Dylan Sanders (inset) and the approximate location of the carjacking. | CPD; Google
A 19-year-old has been charged in connection the April 11th carjacking of a delivery driver in the Uptown neighborhood. Dylan T. Sanders was arrested two days after the carjacking as he drove the stolen Honda Fit in Rogers Park, police said.

Prosecutors charged him with vehicular hijacking; receiving-possessing a stolen motor vehicle; resisting police; obstructing identification, and three traffic violations.

Around 10:30 p.m. on April 11th, a sushi delivery driver reported that he was attacked by up to ten teenagers as he made a delivery near Magnolia Avenue and Gunnison Street. During the attack, some members of the group drove away with his car, which had been left idling in the street, according to a police report.

Police said the victim, who suffered cuts to his face, sought help at a nearby bar.

Bail for Sanders has been set at $50,000.
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Prosecutors: Man punched Chihuahua in the face during domestic incident on North Side

Joseph Neudenbach (inset) | CPD;
An Ohio man is accused of nearly killing his girlfriend’s Chihuahua by punching it in the face during a domestic battery incident on the North Side.

Prosecutors said 34-year-old Joseph Neudenbach of suburban Cleveland got into a verbal altercation with his 35-year-old girlfriend on April 6th. The woman told police that Neudenbach then pinned her to the bed while punching her in the head and stomach, causing a head injury for which she was treated and released the next day, according to a CPD report.

During the altercation, Neudenbach punched the woman’s Chihuahua in the face causing severe head trauma that may be fatal, according to a veterinary report cited in court documents. The woman told police that the dog, named Holly, bled from the mouth and ears after the incident.

The Chihuahua is the woman’s companion animal and registered service animal, police said.

Neudenbach was arrested last Wednesday in Bucktown. Prosecutors charged him with felony aggravated cruelty to animals and misdemeanor domestic battery. Judge Sophia Atcherson set bail at $5,000. Neudenback went free to await trial by posting a $500 deposit bond.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Victim and witnesses chase down mugger in the Loop

Vincent Zuniga was arrested when he allegedly fled into the Harold Washington College loading dock. | CPD; Google
A tenacious victim and several Good Samaritans teamed up to catch a would-be robber in the Loop, police say.

The 27-year-old victim, who lives in Wrigleyville, told police that she was outside of Macy’s near State and Randolph around 10 a.m. on April 5th when a man shoved her and wrestled away her purse. When the offender took off running, the woman gave chase along with up to a half-dozen witnesses, according to police records.

Police said the chase wound through the Loop streets and eventually reached Harold Washington College where surveillance cameras captured images of 28-year-old Vincent Zuniga ditching the woman’s purse in a planter at 202 North Wabash. Zuniga then ran through an alley and stormed through the college’s loading dock with the victim and witnesses in hot pursuit. Two security guards stationed inside the school’s rear entrance placed Zuniga into custody until police arrived.

Cops say Zuniga tried to convince them that he “gave back” the woman’s purse—an apparent reference to his decision to hide it in in a flowerpot.

One of the witnesses recovered the woman’s purse—containing $37, a phone, keys, and credit cards—from the planter and returned it to the victim, police said.

Prosecutors charged Zuniga with felony robbery. Judge Sophia Atcherson set his bail at $3,000 in the robbery case and ordered him held without bail in another pending theft case. Zuniga is due back in court on May 6th.
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Man charged with beating, robbing woman while awaiting trial for allegedly raping two women downtown

Rene Chandler | CPD
A Near South Side man is accused of beating and robbing a woman while he was free on bail awaiting trial on two separate charges of sexually assaulting women in the Streeterville and River North neighborhoods.

Prosecutors say a woman identified 30-year-old Renee Chandler in a photo line-up as the man who struck her in the head then took her phone and $640 cash as they shared an Uber in Hyde Park on Feb. 12th.

Prosecutors last August charged Chandler with sexually assaulting two women in separate attacks downtown. Both victims allegedly met the Chandler online and were attacked after meeting with him in person at high-rise condos.

In one case, Chandler is accused of texting a 26-year-old woman and inviting her to meet him in a condo in the 800 block of North La Salle on Aug. 18, 2018. When the woman arrived, Chandler began touching the victim inappropriately and threw her down on a couch and sexually assaulted her, according to charges. The victim said she was able to get away when Chandler got off of her.

When the victim awoke the next day, she reportedly felt pain in her body and she talked with a leasing agent at the building about happened. Police were called and they arrested Chandler based on her allegations.

Police learned during the arrest process that Chandler—also known as Nayron Gonzalez—was a person of interest in another sexual assault case that was reported in Streeterville on April 22, 2018.

In that incident, a 22-year-old Villa Park woman flagged down police near the 400 block of East Ohio and told officers that she met a man named “Nayron” on social media and came downtown to attend a party with him on the 20th floor of a nearby high-rise.

Chandler allegedly tried to have sex with the woman and struck her with his hands and feet when she declined. The victim was thrown against a wall and Chandler sexually assaulted her before following her out of the apartment and into the street where he struck her again, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors charged Chandler with one count of Class X felony criminal sexual assault causing bodily harm and one count of felony criminal sexual assault-consent. Judge Sophia Atcherson ordered Chandler held in lieu of $100,000 bail on each charge.

Court records show that he went home with an electronic monitoring bracelet after posting a $20,000 deposit bond on Sept 20th.

Now, Chandler is charged with an additional count of felony robbery in connection with the Hyde Park incident. He is currently being held without bail.
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