Friday, May 24, 2019

Call us, too, cops say

311 not sharing graffiti info with police

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

People calling 311 to report graffiti—especially gang graffiti—should also make
sure they report the crime to police, CPD officials said earlier this month.

The assertion was made at the CAPS Beat 811 meeting, held May 21 at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. About a dozen people attended.

In response to a question, CAPS Sgt. Matthew Malloy reiterated what he said at a CAPS Beat 815/821 meeting in Archer Heights several weeks ago.

He noted that 311 operators fielding calls about graffiti routinely pass the information along to the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, so the offensive markings may be eradicated as quickly as possible.

But those same operators do not automatically share that crime-related information with police, he said—which in cases of gang graffiti could represent a missed opportunity for law enforcement to track gang activity.

The sergeant added that he has seen instances at CAPS meetings where people complain about an instance of gang graffiti, yet police seem to have no record of it. “They’ll say, ‘Well, we called it in [to 311],’” he said.

A simple solution exists, he added.

“When you call [311] to report gang graffiti, tell the call-taker that you also want to make a police report about it,” he said, noting that it should only take a few extra moments of time.

Also helpful, added CAPS Officer Ray Tracy, is when citizens take a photo of gang graffiti and share it promptly with police. He said that such images, when examined by CPD gang specialists, can provide needed insights to thwart crime.

He said that often, by the time people tell police about gang graffiti, it has been removed by Streets and San, “and then we’ll ask [the people reporting it] what it looked like, and they may not remember or tell us something vague like, ‘I don’t know. It was red.’”

In other matters at the CAPS Beat 811 meeting, police warned that warmer weather seems to be bringing out the annual re-emergence of con artists.

A 79-year-old woman reported that $60 cash was missing from her purse after she let a man in her home in the 5600 block of South Parkside earlier this month.

The victim told police that a man who seemed to be a ComEd inspector knocked at her door and said he needed to come inside and inspect her electrical outlets.

Once inside, he said he needed to inspect her electrical box in the basement. As they were downstairs, the victim heard someone walking above her, on the home’s main floor. When she started to go upstairs to investigate, the man with her bolted past, ran up the stairs ahead of her and out of the house.

In another instance, con artists tried but failed to enter a home in the 5400 block of South Central. They were frightened off when they saw the elderly victim’s grandson in the backyard, cutting the lawn.

“These [con artists] prey on the elderly, Tracy said. “Please be careful.”

The next CAPS Beat 811 meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 at the church, 5550 S. Merrimac. The public is invited. Beat 811 includes central and western Garfield Ridge, from Central to Harlem.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Crime News Update

Editor's note: The crime news reported by the Southwest Chicago Post---taken directly from Chicago Police Department incident reports---is not by any means an exhaustive catalogue of all crime reported in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District. For example, it typically does not include news of crimes committed in the eastern sectors of the district---because the Southwest Chicago Post's coverage area is primarily the neighborhoods that border Midway Airport and secondarily because including the relatively large volume of crime news from elsewhere in the district would be a logistical challenge. We make this note to offer a little helpful perspective and remind everyone that while crime is definitely a concern in all parts of the district (as it always has been), crime remains relatively low overall in the western section of the district. May all of us work together diligently to keep it that way. May all of us also remember that a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Man shot in West Lawn drive-by
A 36-year-old man was in stable condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center after he was shot multiple times in the West Lawn neighborhood. Police said the victim was hit in the 7100 block of South Lawndale at 7:17 p.m. Saturday, May 4. The shooter fired from a passing vehicle. No one is in custody.

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in and/or own a business in Beat 811 (see map) make plans to attend your next CAPS meeting, set for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 at Garfield Ridge Presbyterian Church, 5550 South Merrimac. Hear updates on crime in your neighborhood and learn how you can work with neighbors and police to make the community safer and better for all.

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Felon arrested on weapons, drug rap
Victor Smekal

A 30-year-old Clearing man was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon after he was arrested on the street in the 5600 block of West 64th Street at 6:40 p.m. Friday, April 19.

Victor A. Smekal, of the 5800 block of West 63rd Street, was arrested by police executing a search warrant, a CPD spokesman said.

Officers reportedly found a handgun in his vehicle, as well as a quantity of cocaine on him. 

According to public records, Smekal has been arrested five times by CPD since 2014 on such charges as reckless conduct, theft and possession of a controlled substance.

Claim man punched two others in disturbance
Marco Padron-Garcia

A 32-year-old Scottsdale man was charged with two counts of aggravated battery after he allegedly punched two people, multiple times, during a domestic dispute.

Marco A. Padron-Garcia, of the 8600 block of South Kildare, was arrested in the 8500 block of South Kedvale at 7:47 a.m. Tuesday, April 23.

According to public records, Padron-Garcia has been arrested three times by CPD since 2017 on charges that included violating an order of protection and aggravated assault.

Say man punched other man in the mouth
Desmond Landrum

A 27-year-old West Elsdon man was charged with domestic battery after he allegedly punched a 26-year-old man in the mouth during a quarrel in a home in the 5300 block of South Kenneth at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, April 27.

Desmond Landrum was arrested without incident.

According to public records, Landrum was arrested by CPD almost exactly four years earlier on the West Side and charged with criminal damage to property.

Bust man who allegedly threatened police
Zbigniew Stopka

A 26-year-old Garfield Ridge man was charged with assault and battery after he allegedly threatened and shoved a police officer in the 5600 block of South Parkside at 7:40 p.m. Monday, April 29.

Zbigniew Stopka, of the 6000 block of West 55th Street, allegedly said, “I’m gonna f~ck your ass up” to an officer investigating a domestic disturbance call.

According to public records, Stopka has been arrested six times by CPD since 2014, on such charges as domestic battery, assault, theft and criminal trespass to land.

Arrest Dolton man on DUI charge
Christian Martinez

A 35-year-old Dolton man was charged with aggravated DUI after a traffic stop by police in the 5400 block of South Nagle at 1:33 a.m. Tuesday, April 23.

Christian Federico Posadas Martinez, of the 1500 block of Berg Drive, also was charged with driving without a license and obstruction of traffic. 

Bust Oak Lawn man on coke rap in Brighton Park
Eric Mendez

A 37-year-old Oak Lawn man was charged with possession of cocaine after police arrested him in front of 4330 S. Kedzie at 2:23 p.m. Friday, April 26.

Eric Mendez, of the 4900 block of West Harnew Road, was “observed by police conducting hand-to-hand narcotics transactions,” a CPD spokesman said.

At a CAPS Beat 815/821 meeting last month, a CPD official said that officers recovered about 22 grams of cocaine with a street value of about $2,000. Further, the official said, Mendez concealed the drugs in a magnetized box stuck to the undercarriage of his vehicle.

According to public records, Mendez was arrested by CPD in 2015, also in Brighton Park (near 40th and Albany) and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Bust Vittum Park man on weapons violation
Juan Mendoza

A 21-year-old Vittum Park man was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a laser sight after he was arrested during a traffic stop at 10:52 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 at 4759 S. Cicero.

Juan C. Mendoza, of the 4800 block of South Lorel, was arrested after officers reportedly found a handgun under the driver’s seat, as well as the laser sight.

Charge man with stealing another person’s belongings
Yahir Ayala

A 19-year-old Gage Park man was charged with theft after he allegedly stole belongings from another person in the 5300 block of South Kolin at 1:20 a.m. Friday, April 26.

Yahir Ayala, of the 5700 block of South Sacramento, was apprehended without incident. A CPD spokesman declined to offer any other details.

Claim woman stole merchandise from Jewel-Osco
Jeanette Bigos

A 66-year-old McKinley Park woman was charged with theft after she allegedly stole merchandise from the Jewel-Osco at 6107 S. Archer at noon, Friday, April 26.

Jeanette Bigos, of the 3300 block of South Archer, was apprehended without incident. A CPD spokesman declined to say exactly what was allegedly stolen.

Bust Berwyn man on trespassing rap
Ernesto Martinez

A 45-year-old Berwyn man was charged with criminal trespass to a residence after he allegedly refused to leave a backyard in the 5100 block of South Nordica.

Ernesto Martinez, of the 3600 block of South Clarence, was apprehended in the 5200 block of South Nordica at 5 p.m. Monday, April 22.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Deadline Extended! NominateYour Deserving Hero Today to Win a Free Roof

‘Roofs 4 Heroes’ initiative launched by business leaders

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

The deadline has been extended for active-duty military
members, honorably discharged veterans and civilian first responders to apply to receive a free roof for their home.
Now through 5 p.m. Saturday, May 25, nominations will be accepted for active-duty military members, veterans and first responders in need.

The “Roofs 4 Heroes” initiative was launched last month by Geno Randazzo of All Exterior Contractors, in partnership with Beacon Roofing Supply, Tamko Building Products, the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce and State Farm Insurance agent Mike Riordan.

“We want to make sure all our local heroes have ample opportunity to apply and be a part of this exciting contest,” Randazzo said. “If you know anyone who fits the description, please encourage them to apply now. 

“Home ownership is part of the American Dream, and that dream is made possible through the bravery of our men and women in uniform,” Randazzo continued. “But that dream can turn into a nightmare for veterans and others in need, when they don’t have the security of a good roof over their heads.”

A blue-ribbon committee will review all nominations, and two winners will be announced on Memorial Day.

Nominations may be made online at

The person nominated must:

• Live in the greater Midway area: Garfield Ridge, Clearing, West Lawn, Scottsdale, Burbank, Oak Lawn, Bridgeview, Bedford Park, Archer Heights, Mount Greenwood or Summit.
• Be an honorably or medically discharged veteran, an active-duty military member or a first responder.
• Have ownership in a home (either on mortgage/insurance/deed.

Those making nominations must be relatives or friends of nominee and provide a copy of the nominee’s DD214, military or first responder ID.

Nominations must also include a photo of the roof in need of repair, as well as the approximate age of the roof.

Finally, nominations should include biographical information about the nominee and reasons why the nominee is a deserving hero.

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