Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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 and southern 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 Sector 1. 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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A woman cradled an infant while she helped rob a 44-year-old man Sunday morning in the alley behind the Aldi discount grocery store at 5775 South Archer.

The victim, a Woodstock man, told police he was there at 11:15 a.m. to shop for groceries for his elderly father in the Leclaire Courts area.

The man told police that when he was told that Aldi does not have a bathroom for customer use, he walked to the alley and began urinating against a wall. While doing so, he was approached by a woman holding an infant. The woman claimed her car had broken down and she needed money to get home.

The victim, still urinating, told her he had no money to spare. At that point, the woman's male accomplice appeared, displayed a pistol and said "Don't move. What you got?" They then went through his pockets, taking his wallet (which contained his ID, debit card and $200 cash).

The pair of thugs then fled, with the baby, in a blue Dodge or Chevy van with tinted windows and a deep scratch along the passenger side. The victim got a partial Illinois license plate number of L14.

The victim described the woman as a white Hispanic, 30-36 years old, 5'4 to 5'6 and 130-155 pounds, olive complexion, long red/auburn hair, wearing a pink t-shirt and blue jeans.

The gunman was described as a white Hispanic, 24-28 years old, 5'9 to 5'11 and 160-185 pounds, brown eyes, short brown hair, olive complexion, wearing black pants and a black hooded sweatshirt.

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A 46-year-old Vittum Park man was arrested Sunday and charged with burglarizing a garage near 48th and Kilpatrick.

John Sweeney of 50th and Leamington is scheduled to appear in Cook County Circuit Court First Municipal District Branch 48, 151 West 51st Street, on Monday, August 27.

John Sweeney
At about 10:35 a.m., a 56-year-old neighbor of the victim (a 38-year-old man) said he heard a prying sound compatible with someone trying to break in the service door of a garage. He went to investigate and claimed to see Sweeney leaving with a lawn mower.

He alerted an off-duty police officer who lives nearby. The officer said she asked Sweeney if he had stolen the lawn mower; and his only response to her was "F~ck off."

When police arrived, the off-duty officer directed them to a house near 49th and Knox where she said Sweeney hangs out. He was found there, taken into custody and brought back to the scene of the burglary, where he was positively identified by the witness.

Further, the off-duty police officer told police that Sweeney occasionally did odd jobs at a home near 50th and Kilpatrick.

When police arrived at that home, they saw fresh tracks from lawn mower wheels in the long grass. They alerted a 76-year-old woman living at the home, who then opened a door under her deck to reveal a lawn mower. Police brought the lawn mower back to the burglarized garage, where the owner identified it as his.

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A 21-year-old gangbanger from suburban Midlothian was beaten and robbed of his cell phone as he walked on the side walk in front of 6458 South Pulaski at 4:08 p.m. Saturday, August 18.

An admitted member of a North Side gang, the victim was wearing common gang colors (black and red) and claimed he was attacked by a rival gang member because he had recently changed his allegiance to his new gang.

Beyond that, the victim refused to cooperate with police questioning.

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A 39-year-old West Lawn woman had her purse snatched as she walked westbound on the sidewalk in front of 4118 West 63rd Street at 6:10 p.m. Sunday, August 19.

A thug on a black or dark blue mountain bike rode up behind her and snatched it away, fleeing north on Kedvale. The purse contained a cell phone and $60 cash, the victim said.

The criminal was described as a white Hispanic boy, 16-18 years old, 5'6 to 6'0 and 160-180 pounds, dark complexion, wearing a white t-shirt.

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A 20-year-old Archer Heights man accidentally shot himself in the upper left thigh when he adjusted his belt and forgot he had a loaded pistol stashed in his waistband.

The man was walking in the alley behind 4923 South Tripp at 1:10 a.m. Monday, August 20 when the mishap occurred. Apparently embarrassed, the man told police that he had planned to stash the gun at the scene, run home (48th and Keeler) and tell his mother he had been shot by a rival gangbanger.

He claimed he quit gangbanging about a year ago, but recently bought a gun on the street for $250 after someone fired at him several days earlier.

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A 19-year-old West Lawn man claimed that a carload of gangbangers chased his car, threatened him with a gun, shouted gang slogans and threw empty bottles and rocks at him at about 6:05 p.m. Sunday, August 19---in a chase that included incidents at 63rd and Cicero, 63rd and Kilpatrick and 67th and Kildare.

The victim insisted to police that he is not a gang member.

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 811 (see map above), come to Good Shepherd Church, 5556 South Merrimac, at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 21. Learn how you can work with neighbors and police to make the community safer and better for all.
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