Thursday, January 31, 2013

Recalling Yesteryear's Amusement Parks

Chicago-area historian Eddie Kwiatkowski recently led several dozen people on a memory-lane trip to amusement parks of years gone by, at an event hosted by our friends at the Clear-Ridge Historical Society.

Many people know Eddie as the curator of Eddie's Rail Fan Page, a wealth of Southwest Side nostalgia.

The Southwest Chicago Post was at the event at the Clearing Branch Library and captured the first 20 minutes or so on video.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eighth District Cops 'Play it by the Heart' and Restore Family's Faith in Goodness

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Just as you do, I wear several hats.

As a longtime journalist, I'm used to seeing crime news. It is a sad but steady part of the news stream.

As a Southwest Side homeowner who knows what it is to be a crime victim, I get angry when I see crime affect my neighbors in this part of the city. It hits close to home.

But let me say this: as a mother of two daughters, I want to wring the necks of the lowlifes who burglarized Jennifer Weaver's apartment.

Here's the story:

Jennifer is a 33-year-old single mother of three girls: Raven, 8, Sadie, 2, and Grace, 1. As is so often the case in this economic depression, times are tough for Jennifer. She is unemployed and on public assistance.

Just before three o'clock on a Thursday afternoon, Jennifer and the girls arrived home to their apartment near 61st Place and Spaulding, only to find it ransacked by burglars.

Predictably, the criminals swiped what cash they could get their grubby paws on, about $300 in rent money that was hidden. Also no surprise, they stole whatever electronics they could: a couple of video game consoles, several video games, and an assortment of movies on DVD.

Then came the low blow.

They stole literally hundreds of dollars' worth of diabetes medicine, blood-glucose test strips and syringes---all vitally important to the health of eight-year-old Raven, who lives with Type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes and a few other significant health concerns.

And to add insult to injury, these thugs actually raided the fridge and cabinets---stealing several hundred dollars' worth of groceries. Milk, frozen dinners, even a box of Cocoa Puffs.

"I was in complete shock," Jennifer recalls. "All the electronics (stolen), you can see that. But medicine and food? They stole quite a bit of food. It's like they went food shopping in my house."

Jennifer called police, who stopped by a while later to investigate and make out a crime report. Responding were Officer Robert Cavallone and Officer Raquel Castaneda.

According to CPD, "The officers entered the apartment and saw firsthand how destructive the burglars were. Every drawer had been overturned and completely ransacked, including the refrigerator. The victim’s mattress had been flipped over, the kitchen chairs all thrown about, and the bathroom window broken."

As Jennifer answered the officers' questions, Raven started to cry. Her meds were gone, her toys were gone, the food and rent money were gone. Even her purse was stolen.

How low do you have to be to steal an eight-year-old girl's purse? Really.

But here's where the story takes a turn for the better.

Officers Cavallone and Castaneda could have finished their report and left with an unspoken "Tough luck, sister." But instead of playing it by the book, they decided to play it by the heart.

You see, hardened and professional as Cavallone and Castaneda doubtless are, they fought back tears themselves. Cavallone had three dollars in his wallet and gave it to Jennifer, suggesting that she buy milk for the girls.

After they left, Cavallone and Castaneda, along with Officer David Falardeau, swung into action, determined to do a good deed.

And the very next day, as Jennifer relates, "Officer Cavallone and Officer Falardeau came back. They said they came to see if they had my phone number correct on the police report. Then they said they had to go back to the car; and when they came back in, they were burdened with bags."

Officers Falardeau and Cavallone.
The three officers had pooled their own money and bought food for the family. They also purchased an electronic Leapster game for little Grace, an Angry Birds game for Sadie, and a brand new Skylanders Wii game system with two games for Raven. Knowing how devastated Raven was, they also presented her with a new purse to replace the one that was stolen in the burglary, along with a few other small items.

"I started crying," Jennifer recalls. "They replaced my eight year old’s Wii and bought her toys. My eight year old is really ill. They replaced food items. The bought my two younger children toys."

"And it isn't what they bought, as much as (the fact that) they did it. Really."

"So if you write a story, please make the story about them," Jennifer told me on Tuesday night. "They deserve it. There are not enough people who think there are still good people out there."

Agreed, Jennifer. They do deserve it. Three good police officers who saw a family in distress and played it by the heart.

But I suspect that part of their goodness includes a humble character. And here's what makes me think that.

You see, the crime did occur on a Thursday and the act of kindness and generosity on a Friday:

Thursday/Friday, November 15/16, 2012.

Not being showboats or headline hogs, the officers essentially kept it to themselves. It wasn't until two months later, when Jennifer saw CPD Eighth District CAPS Sergeant Allen Cain and told him of the trio's good deed that the situation came to light. Cain tipped us off, and we thank him for that. He enabled us to share the story with you.

So a tip of the cap to Officers Robert Cavallone, Raquel Castaneda and David Falardeau for reminding us all that behind a typical police officer's badge beats a strong and compassionate heart.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

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.

* * *

An 18-year-old Archer Heights man was arrested in an attack that police are describing as gang related.

Alejandro Serrato of 48th and Avers was taken into custody for allegedly attacking a 19-year-old Archer Heights man at the Citgo station at 5114 South Pulaski.
5114 South Pulaski

The victim told police that he was in the station buying snacks at about 9:30 a.m. Friday, January 25 when Serrato walked in and started hitting him with a crowbar and shouting a gang slogan.

According to the victim---who told police he knows Serrato---Serrato then left the gas station and got into a 2000 Chevy Blazer (driven by another man) and sped away.

Police said they saw a vehicle matching the description of the offender's vehicle near 54th and Homan. They took Serrato and the driver into custody. The CPD incident report did not mention if the driver was charged with a criminal offense.

The victim's relatives drove him to the emergency room at St. Anthony Hospital, where physicians closed his head wounds with staples and released him.

* * *

Burglars pried open the back door of a house near 61st and Kilpatrick and ransacked the basement and attic apartments.

The crime was discovered by one of the victims, a 41-year-old man living in the basement, when he returned home from shopping at 8:59 p.m. Friday, January 25.

Stolen from the basement unit were a computer, a cell phone, and iPod and a bag of children's clothes.

Stolen from the attic apartment was a digital camera, according to the victim, a 32-year-old woman.

The tenant in the first-floor unit told police that when she arrived home at about 8:30 p.m., she heard loud noises in the attic and basement, but did not call police.

Police investigating followed "Nike" footprints in the snow, leading from the victims' back door to the alley.

* * *

Burglars entered the back door of a basement apartment near 63rd and Natchez and stole a TV, a Nintendo Wii and a jewelry box with jewelry inside.

The crime was discovered by the victim, a 58-year-old woman, at 1:00 p.m. Friday, January 25. There was so sign of forced entry.

Another tenant of the building told police that earlier in the day, a person described only as a black man was at the building, asking to speak with the landlord.

At the same time Friday, several doors west, a 21-year-old man returned home to his first-floor apartment to find the back door wide open and the unit ransacked.

Stolen were a TV, a laptop computer, an Xbox video game console, a black backpack and two pillow cases.

The burglars apparently entered via an unlocked kitchen window, the victim told police.

* * *

Burglars kicked in the back door of a home near 55th and McVicker and stole a laptop computer, assorted jewelry and 15 bottles of top-shelf, imported Mexican tequila valued at $7,500, according to the victim.

The crime was discovered by the victim, a 34-year-old woman, when she came home from work at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 24.

Police investigating spoke with a neighbor who said that at about 1:30 p.m. he saw a white work van parked in front. He mistakenly thought the men inside were there to repair his furnace and went outside to speak with them. When they told him they were not, he went back inside his house. He described them as white Hispanic men age 30-35.

* * *

Burglars forced open a back window of a home near 50th and Kostner and stole a brown suitcase that contained identification and other personal papers belonging to the deceased homeowner, an elderly woman.

The crime was discovered by the deceased woman's former caretaker, a 53-year-old woman who lives in the home, at 12:55 p.m. Saturday, January 26. The woman notified the deceased woman's daughter, a 53-year-old LaGrange woman.

* * *

Burglars forced open a back window of a home near 67th and Hamlin and stole assorted disc jockey equipment, assorted jewelry, a camera, a Sony PlayStation2 video console and games, and a TV.

The crime was discovered by the victim, a 36-year-old man, just after midnight Sunday, January 27.

* * *

Burglars entered a garage near 53rd and Kolin and stole six power drills, four power saws, an air compressor and a paint sprayer.

The crime was discovered at about 8:30 p.m. Friday, January 25. There was no sign of forced entry. The victim, who was at work at the time, told police that his automatic garage door opener had been stolen a short time earlier.

* * *

Burglars pried open two back doors of a home near 61st and Komensky and stole five external hard drives, two CD turn tables, and a DJ mixer.

The crime was discovered by the victim, a 27-year-old man, when he came home from work at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, January 24. He told police that he thinks the burglar may have stashed the items in a black stereo speaker bag.

Police followed footprints in the snow, leading from the back door to the alley, then north to 60th Street and then east on 60th Street, where they disappeared.

* * *

A 48-year-old Clearing woman preparing to do battle with the season's first snowfall entered her garage near 63rd Place and Mobile on Tuesday, January 23---only to find her snowblower gone.

She told police the last time she remembered seeing it in the garage was about mid-December. There was no sign of forced entry, and the victim told police she may have left the service door unlocked.

* * *

Burglars broke a rear basement window of a home near 48th and Knox, ransacked three bedrooms and stole assorted jewelry and $1,500 cash.

The crime was discovered by the victim, a 61-year-old man, when he came home from work at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 23.

* * *

Save the date! The Clearing Night Force neighborhood watch group will host a "gang awareness" seminar on Tuesday, March 19 in the auditorium at Hale School. All Clearing residents are encouraged to attend.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Computer Prodigies: Young Company Prospers and Grows on Archer Avenue

As part of the Southwest Chicago Post mission to promote Southwest Side businesses that are independent and locally owned/operated, we made a stop at Computer Prodigies, located in Archer Heights (at 5032 South Archer), a popular and rapidly growing business owned by Justin Cardoza, a bright, enterprising 30-year-old man who grew up in Brighton Park.

Repairing computers---especially those infected with viruses and other malware---is Cardoza's specialty, although he offers other services.

As he states on the Computer Prodigies website, "I personally created our Exclusive 24-Point A+ Certified Quality Inspection to give you more so you can do more with your PC and to ensure you receive a reliable and quality repair service. Nowhere else will your PC go through our thorough inspection...we're confident you will see that we really are different from the rest of the technicians out there."

Justin Cardoza at work.
A graduate of Davis Elementary School and Kelly High School, Cardoza began (like so many young entrepreneurs do) working from the house he grew up in. "I began literally by fixing computers in my bedroom. Clients would stop by to pick up or drop off their computers, and we'd be walking down the hall---and there's my mom with a basket of laundry," he recalls with a smile.

In September of 2011, Cardoza moved into his current office and workshop on Archer (just west of Pulaski). As his business has grown, so has his base of satisfied customers---from the city out to a number of suburbs and even Indiana. Computer Prodigies' website boasts nearly 100 testimonials from clients.

Helping those in need.
As his success has grown, so has his commitment to helping those less fortunate. Computer Prodigies just wrapped up its second annual food drive to help people in need. Cardoza collected some 289 pounds of food (much of it donated by customers), exceeded his goal of 250 pounds and more than doubling the first year's total. The food collected was delivered to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. "Even in good times, there are people who are hungry," he explains. "I think it's important for all of us to do what we can to reach out and help people in need."

Computer Prodigies also holds regular drawings for gift-card prizes to customers. "It's a modest way of saying thanks," Cardoza adds. "But really, what keeps customers loyal to us is our dedication to them---our honesty, our expertise and our commitment to providing an outstanding experience in service."

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St. Joe's Open House Set for Sunday

Parents of children ages 2 through 13 are invited to attend an open house set for 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, January 27 at St. Joseph School, 5641 South 73rd Avenue, Summit (a half block west of 57th and Harlem).

The school’s principal, teachers, alumni, parents and students will be on hand to welcome all prospective students and parents, offer tours and serve complimentary refreshments.

"St. Joseph School, with its smaller class sizes and strong track record of academic success, is something we are very proud of," stated Principal Lawrence Manetti. "Our school gives children an advantage that lasts a lifetime---a firm foundation that prepares boys and girls for the rigors of high school and beyond."

Information packets about the 2013-14 school year will be available, and preliminary registrations will be accepted.

St. Joseph School offers a Christ-centered education for boys and girls in kindergarten through eighth grade, as well as three- and four-year-old preschool.
Before- and after-school care are offered to accommodate the needs of working parents.

Children at the school have access to a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, including basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, band, choir, chess club, Girl Scouts and more.

The school serves children and parents in St. Joseph Parish (which includes the northern section of Summit and the western section of Chicago’s Garfield Ridge neighborhood), and also welcomes children from a number of other areas, including suburban Bedford Park, Bridgeview, Justice, Willow Springs, Lyons and other communities.

For more information, phone Principal Lawrence Manetti at (708) 458-2927.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spaghetti Dinner This Saturday at St. Joe's

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser is set for 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, January 26 in St. Joseph School's Centennial Hall, 5641 South 73rd Avenue, Summit (one block west of 57th and Harlem).

Tickets are $10 each, $7 if purchased in advance at the school office or at the rectory, 7240 West 57th Street.

There will be meatless sauce available for those who prefer a vegetarian option.

Wine, beer, soft drinks and water will be sold.

Proceeds from dinner ticket sales will benefit the school, which for nearly a century has provided a Catholic elementary education for boys and girls in Summit, Chicago's Garfield Ridge neighborhood and other fine communities in the city and suburbs.

During dinner, members of the St. Joseph School Chess Club will hold a bake sale to help raise funds for a trip to compete in Nashville, Tennessee.

For details, call the school at (708) 458-2927.

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St. Nick's Invites All to Mass, Open House

Here is a press release from our friends at St. Nicholas of Tolentine School:

~ ~ ~

St. Nicholas of Tolentine School students and faculty are eagerly preparing to celebrate Catholic Schools Week.

The celebration kicks off at St. Nicholas on 27th of January and continues until February 1st. We would also like to invite you to the opening of Catholic Schools Week, Soaring to New Heights with Great Expectations, which begins with a Family Mass at 10:30 a.m., followed by an open house in school from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 27th.

Our current parents, families wishing to know more about St. Nicholas School, alumni, and our neighbors are invited to come in and see just what makes us shine.  Registration for the 2013 – 2014 school year begins on that Sunday.  Tours can always be given privately to prospective families at any time during the week with a phone call to school, but this open house is a very special day to join in the school’s community. 

The rest of the week sees a day dedicated to Parent Appreciation by the students and a day dedicated to Teacher Appreciation by the Administration, Parents, and students. Activities involve grades pairing up and sharing buddy events. Various dress down and costume days show student appreciation with many fun activities as well. The whole week of celebrating Catholic Schools ends with an all-school trip to Disney on Ice.

To learn more about St. Nicholas of Tolentine School, please contact the school office 773-735-0772.  “A Place Where Students Flourish and Talents Flow”

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More Years of Waiting on Local Underpass Construction, According to IDOT Letter

In a neighborhood long fed up with traffic tie-ups caused by trains---and sometimes cynical after hearing literally decades' worth of promises broken by local politicians---a handful of local men and women heard an update from state officials on Monday evening.

The update was delivered to an audience of 19 at a meeting of the Garfield Ridge Civic League. It was in the form of a letter from the Illinois Department of Transportation to State Senator Martin Sandoval (D-11th), who now represents Garfield Ridge and Clearing after the recent remap, and shared by Joe Garcia, Sandoval's chief of staff.

Sandoval himself was not there, Garcia explained, because he is at a legislative conference in Mexico.

The letter from IDOT was a little over a month old and was in response to a letter that Sandoval had sent on December 12, requesting a briefing on progress with installing grade separations (such as underpasses) at various railroad crossings---specifically:

** 65th Street, just east of Harlem
** 55th Street, just west of Central
** Central Avenue, just north of 54th Street
** 55th Street, just east of Central Park.

IDOT's response only mentioned two of the four crossings. They made no mention of what, if any, progress has been made on 55th Street just west of Central, and 55th Street just east of Central Park.

Regarding the railroad crossing at Central Avenue just north of 54th Street, IDOT said that the project is in the first phase of design; and that phase will not be completed before 2015. IDOT offered no word on how many phases are in the entire process or how many years it would take for an underpass to actually be built or with what specific funds.

The IDOT update offered a similar "2015 or later" outlook for the rail crossing at Archer and Kenton, a crossing not mentioned by Sandoval.

Garcia confers with Chuck Shilney.
Regarding the crossing near 65th and Harlem, IDOT admitted that "no work has yet begun."

Garcia did not explain why Sandoval did not request an IDOT briefing on other local rail crossings that cause traffic tie-ups, such as 63rd and Harlem, 59th and Narragansett, and 59th and Austin.

The IDOT letter also noted that an underpass is under construction on 71st Street (several blocks west of Harlem, by Toyota Park in suburban Bridgeview)---a sore point for many Garfield Ridge and Clearing residents who have bitterly complained (correctly or not) that the same politicians who have long promised relief to Garfield Ridge and Clearing have instead used their muscle to get that underpass done first.

In response to a question, Garcia said he was not immediately aware of what progress, if any, has been made on the proposed Central Avenue Overpass, which would link Clearing with Bedford Park and Burbank---a project that has been the subject of on-again/off-again political promises going all the way back to 1946.

Clearing resident Chuck Shilney, a longtime neighborhood advocate and critic of railroad companies, voiced skepticism that the overpass would be built during Sandoval's current term of office.

Garcia and Rick Techman
Garcia responded to Shilney and others by saying that Sandoval shares the community's concerns about rail-related traffic delays. He assured the audience that the senator would stay on the issue. "He's a stand-up guy," Garcia said. "He built five different schools and paved streets (in his old district). There's a reason he's called El Caballo---he's a workhorse. He's going to take care of it. He's not going to pass the buck to the next state senator."

In other matters discussed at the meeting:

** In response to a question about plans to cut pension benefits of government workers, Garcia said that Sandoval opposes cutting the pension benefits of retired government workers. "The deal you start with is the deal you get," he said. He did not comment on proposals to reduce benefits for current government workers.

** In response to an audience member's claim that returning servicemen are not receiving the health care and job opportunities they deserve, Garcia said "It is unfortunate that our servicemen aren't being taken care of."

** Garcia praised audience members for playing an active role in community improvement. He talked about his own commitment by noting that he and his family moved back to the neighborhood where he spent his earliest years (Little Village), saying "It is what it is today" and "I live in the worst part of the district" but play an active role in rebuilding the community.

** In response to an audience member who complained about what she sees as the state's failure to identify and crack down on Link card abuse, Garcia agreed that the issue is one of concern and pointed out that when he left his private-sector position as a Hyatt Hotel manager and accepted a job in government, he took a $35,000 pay cut. He added that unlike some others in government, he has no outside employment---and with a family to support, he claimed he would qualify for a Link card. "I could apply for one, and I would get it; but I refuse to get one," he stated.

** GRCL President Rick Techman thanked Garcia and expressed hope that Sandoval himself will speak before the group in the months ahead. Techman also reminded the group about the GRCL's "Spontaneous Sunday" event planned for February 24 at Danny's Pizza. Details can be found on the GRCL website.

** Longtime neighborhood advocate Mary Shilney encouraged everyone to attend the next CAPS Beat 812 meeting, set for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 13 at the Clearing Branch Library; and that the Clearing Night Force neighborhood watch group will host a "gang awareness" event on Tuesday, March 19 at Hale School. Details will be made public as they are set.

** It was noted that the next meeting of the Clearing Civic League is set for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 19 at Hale Park. (The meeting was moved to the third Tuesday because the second Tuesday is a holiday and the room was not available.)

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

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.

* * *

El Taco Sabroso, 8346 South Pulaski, was robbed at gunpoint at 10:15 p.m. Saturday, January 19.
8346 South Pulaski

According to two employees (a 27-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman), a man walked in, waved a handgun and said "Give me the money."

After the employees gave him about $500 cash, the criminal fled out the door and ran south on Pulaski and then west through the CVS parking lot at 8444 South Pulaski.

The robber was described as a black man age 17-20, 5'8 to 5'10 and 150-160 pounds, wearing a black ski mask, a gray hoodie and black gloves.

Several patrons of a nearby bar told police that the saw the robber and another man fleeing; all but one of the witnesses declined to give their names to police.

* * *

A 42-year-old Hometown man was arrested and charged in connection with a garage burglary in Garfield Ridge.

Zygmont Parcyzh
Zygmont Parcyzh of 89th and Kostner was charged with one count of felony theft, according to police.

Police on patrol said at about 6:30 a.m. Friday, January 18 they spotted Parcyzh pushing a lawn mower down an alley near 58th and Oak Park. They stopped him and took him into custody.

Police were later contacted by a 45-year-old man who lives near the site. He identified the lawn mower as his---missing from his garage via the service door.

* * *

A 22-year-old West Lawn man was robbed at gunpoint as he put gas in his car at the Mobil gas station at 3642 West 59th Street.
3642 West 59th Street

At 12:15 a.m. Friday, January 18 the man was accosted by two men---one pointing a pistol at his face and demanding money. The victim surrendered his cell phone, a walkie-talkie and $200 cash.

Before fleeing, the thugs pepper-sprayed the victim's face.

He described one as a black man, 5'7 and 150 pounds, wearing a black hoodie. There was no description of the other robber.

* * *

Three Ashburn men were arrested in connection with the robbery a 39-year-old Scottsdale man in an alley near 86th and Kenneth.

The three are Cornell Primar, 21, of 86th and Central Park; Masheki Ballard, 19, of 84th and Hamlin; and Brandon Cail, 22, of 85th Place and Central Park. All three are gang members, according to police.

Minutes after 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 19, the victim said he was accosted in the alley by three men. After he surrendered his cell phone and three dollars, one of the robbers reportedly became angry, put a blue steel handgun against his cheek and said "I know you got more f~ckin' money. I'll blow your brains out."

The victim then gave up an additional $70 cash. The trio fled east toward Pulaski. 

Police responding were pointed in the direction of three men by several Ashburn residents, including a man who said he saw one of the three toss a wad of cash into his back yard while he was fleeing.

According to police, Ballard and Primar were apprehended near 85th Place and Hamlin. They were positively identified by the victim.

Police said they apprehended Cail at his home after seeing a pair of blue sweatpants atop
a garbage cart behind the house. They also said they found the handgun used in the crime in another garbage cart in the area. They said the victim also positively IDed Cail.

Additionally, police said they found small amounts of marijuana on two of the three suspects.

* * *

A 30-year-old Archer Heights woman proved too stubborn and tough for a thug who tried to rob her.

At 6:50 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, the woman was walking on a sidewalk near 44th and Komensky when the would-be robber said "Give me your purse." When the woman did not comply, the crook grabbed her purse and tried to snatch it away.

The victim won the tug of war and ran away south on Komensky toward her home. The criminal fled in an unknown direction.

The offender was described as a white Hispanic man age 25-30, 5'10 to 6'0, olive complexion, a crew cut hair style, a small moustache, wearing a gray hoodie and blue jeans.

* * *

In what police are calling a gang-related incident, a 19-year-old Little Village man was shot on the street near 65th Place and Springfield at about 3:45 a.m. Sunday, January 20.

Witnesses told police that the victim was shot while fighting with another man. After the shooter fled, the victim was driven to Holy Cross Hospital by friends. He was treated for gun shot wounds to his left cheek and right wrist.

Witnesses described the shooter only as a man with a light complexion.

* * *

A 22-year-old Clearing man allegedly threatened his 19-year-old girlfriend and her 59-year-old aunt before being led away from their Clearing home by police.

According to police, Omar Juma of 63rd and Natchez was found in front of his girlfriend's home near 64th and Lorel at 7:50 a.m. Saturday, January 19.

Police said that his girlfriend claimed that during an argument, Juma allegedly said "B~tch, I'll f~ck you up"; and that when her aunt tried to intervene, he said to her "B~tch, I'll grab my knife and stab you."

Police added that both the girlfriend and her aunt refused to sign a complaint against Juma, just asking for him to be removed from their home. Police advised them to seek a legal order of protection and then transported Juma to his home.

No knife was found on Juma or at the scene of the argument, police said.

Juma was mentioned in a crime report posted last August by the Southwest Chicago Post.

* * *

Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 813 or 833 (see map), come to West Lawn Park at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 22. 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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