Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snow Doesn't Stop CAPS Beat 813/833

While Tuesday evening's snowstorm held down the attendance at the CAPS Beat 813/833 monthly meeting at West Lawn Park (an audience of 17, about a third of the usual turnout), there was nothing to hold down the lively discussions of crime and crime prevention.

CAPS facilitator and West Lawn resident Barbara Ziegler livened up the usual admonitions about confidence artists with two recent anecdotes about crooks attempting to swindle senior citizens.

"An elderly woman was at her own front door with her key, having difficulty trying to get inside when a man walks up and says 'I'm from the 13th Ward, and I'm here to shovel your snow. But it will cost you sixty dollars,'" Ziegler related. "So the woman walks around the back and goes in the house. This guy follows her and watches her get the money from the kitchen cabinet. So now he knows where she keeps her cash. Then he says, 'Come on, let's see about fixing that front door.' And while they both go back to the front, his accomplice slips in the back door and goes through her bedroom and steals several things, including her wedding ring and her late husband's ring."

"Now obviously, that guy wasn't from the 13th Ward," Ziegler added. "I mean, we do have volunteers who shovel snow for seniors, but they don't charge. The lesson here is, don't open your door for anyone like this, don't let them in your house; and if you think anything is suspicious, call 911 right away and let the police come and check it out."

The other anecdote concerned a woman who refused entry to a man knocking on her door on a Saturday night, holding a bucket and claiming to be a plumber in need of water for a job at a neighbor's house. The woman refused him entry. The man claiming to be a plumber went next door to knock on that door. The woman's brother happened to live next door and didn't answer his door. The "plumber" came back to the woman's house.  She said she saw him using a screwdriver to try and pry open her storm door. "She refused to open her door and hollered 'I'm calling the police!' and even told him she was going to get her gun, and 'blow him away.'"

The would-be home invader fled. Later reflecting upon her boldness with the would-be home invader the woman said, "It's obvious I watch too much Law and Order," Ziegler added, drawing chuckles from the audience.

"Senior citizens are targets. We all know that," Ziegler added. "And you can just look at the houses on a block and tell which ones are seniors."

Crime prevention flier.
Noting the night's sparse turnout, she implored everyone at the meeting to spread the word among local seniors by passing out a CPD Community Alert crime prevention flier.

In other action at the meeting, CPD Officer Jose Sepulveda went over crime data and offered two local success stories.

** He credited good follow-up work by CPD detectives in a case where two women were apprehended and charged in connection with a residential burglary in Garfield Ridge (near 57th and Neenah), chronicled in a recent SWCP Crime News Update.

Sepulveda said that shortly after the arrest, detectives checked a pawn shop data base and found that one of the two women had recently pawned a number of items of jewelry. At least one of the items she pawned matched the description of jewelry stolen in a residential burglary in the Clearing neighborhood. Detectives then succeeded in recovering the jewelry and returning it to the woman who owns it.

James Gardner
** Sepulveda praised the work of police on patrol near 67th Place and Lawndale, who earlier in the month chased and apprehended 19-year-old James Gardner, a South Sider (104th and Corliss) on multiple felony charges, including unlawful use of a weapon.

Sepulveda said that police responding to a 3:00 a.m. call of a possible gang-related criminal damage to property saw Gardner and several other men walking down the street. Upon seeing police, Gardner allegedly bolted and threw a black object away, onto a driveway. Sepulveda said the object turned out to be a hand gun.

He added that Gardner was wanted on a parole violation and was carrying marijuana on him.


** In response to a man's question for an explanation of the rioting that occurred on Saturday in and around Ford City Mall, Sepulveda claimed that he had no additional information to share, beyond what people already knew from news media reports.

** A West Lawn man who said he was attending his first CAPS meeting complained about what he described as a long-standing struggle with an auto repair shop near 59th and Kolmar, regarding where they park the cars they service as well as noise. Police made a note of the situation and said they would keep an eye on the situation.

** Ziegler mentioned that the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) will be in the area twice in March, offering local men and women a free review of phone and utility bills.

"This is a great service where you bring them your bills, and they will show you how you can easily save money," Ziegler said and added that last year, CUB officials showed her how to save $50 a month on her phone bills.

The "CUB Clinics" are set for 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 at Hale Park and 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at the Madigan-Quinn service office, 6500 South Pulaski. To register for a free bill analysis, call Jennifer Solski at (773) 581-1313. Click here for a more detailed view of what a CUB Clinic entails.

** West Lawn neighborhood advocate Dawn Ferrarini let everyone know that CAPS Beat 813/833 now has a Facebook page and encouraged everyone to check it out.

** The next CAPS Beat 813/833 meeting is set for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 26 at West Lawn Park.

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