Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Clearing Man Nabbed on Burglary Charges

A recent Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meeting in Clearing yielded common concerns and calls for renewed citizen vigilance and cooperation with police in thwarting crime.

The April CAPS meeting for the Eighth Police District’s Beat 812 (see clickable beat map below) was held at the Clearing Branch Library and was attended by more than 50 local men and women, a stronger turnout than usual.

Highlights included:

** As his success story of the month, CPD Sergeant Allen Cain announced the arrest of a Clearing man in connection with a burglary that occurred near 60th and Nagle in the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 2.

Cain said that the victim, a suburban law enforcement official, came home to find his garage and home (near 60th and Nagle) broken into. Among the items stolen were a Glock 9 mm pistol and ammunition, and a suburban police department star.

Using video footage from a nearby home surveillance system, Cain said police identified the suspect as a male white wearing eyeglasses, a blue shirt and blue pants. From his direction of flight shown on the video, they tracked the burglary suspect to a third-floor apartment across the alley.

Once there, Cain continued, they made an immediate entrance into the building, spotted what appeared to be burglary proceeds stacked in the hallway, and confronted the suspect, who reportedly was found in the bedroom with the stolen (and loaded) Glock.

Cain added that the suspect resisted arrest and was Tasered twice by officers. He said that all proceeds from the burglary were recovered and returned to their owner, and that once in CPD custody, the suspect confessed to committing other burglaries in the neighborhood.

Kurt Westergren
Cain did not name the alleged offender in his announcement to the CAPS audience. The Southwest Chicago Post has learned that the man arrested is Kurt Westergren, 31, of the 6000 block of south Narragansett.

Westergren is currently at Cook County Jail. His bail is set at $50,000. His next scheduled court date is Tuesday, April 30.

He made the news last year when he was charged with a weapons violation in DuPage County.

According to CPD News Affairs, Westergren is facing felony burglary charges, in addition to several misdemeanor charges of possession of burglary tools, possession of a firearm without a valid FOID card, possession of ammunition without a valid FOID card, and resisting arrest.

In response to Cain's announcement, the audience burst into applause, as they did at several other points in the meeting.

* * *

In response to an audience question, Cain stated that there are "no home invasion" incidents related to the seven recent burglaries in the area (five in Beat 812, two in Beat 811 to the north). Additionally, he said there is no known connection between the sexual assault that was reported to police on March 31 and any other crimes in the area. Cain declined to discuss details about that case, assuring the audience that detectives are at work on it.

* * *

The recent robbery of a Family Dollar store on Archer was raised by an audience member. The two beat officers in attendance used the discussion to remind everyone about the importance of calling 911 to report anything suspicious. "A lot of these robberies occur near the stores' closing time," an officer said. "So if you are in a store shopping and you spot something suspicious, step outside and make the call (to 911). There is no such thing as a stupid call. The only stupid call is the one you don't make. And don't worry about wasting our time. Let us check it out and decide. That's what we're paid to do."

* * *

An audience member praised police for their recent, swift response to his 911 call to report "gangbangers smoking weed" near 61st and Massasoit.

* * *

CPD Eighth District Court Advocacy chief Barbara Ziegler reported that court advocates made 216 appearances at 32 different criminal court proceedings in March.

Widely respected as the largest and most effective court advocacy unit in the entire city, the Eighth District court advocates are volunteers who attend select judicial proceedings  to show support for crime victims and witnesses, as well as police and prosecutors. They also use their silent presence in the courtroom to remind judges and everyone that the community stands united against crime and has an uncompromising insistence that justice be served.

Ziegler stated that new volunteers are always needed "for the easiest work you will ever do" and made a pitch for people to sign up after the meeting. (At least one Clearing resident did exactly that.)

Ziegler mentioned a couple of high-profile cases the advocates are following, including the Froylan case (next in court on Monday, April 29) and the Sandoval case (next in court on Tuesday, April 30).

* * *

Longtime community advocate Mary Shilney made a pitch for people to join the Clearing Night Force neighborhood watch group and reported on the group's activities. At least one person joined the group at the conclusion of the meeting.

* * *

Police at the meeting refuted an audience member's allegation that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered police resources away from the Eighth District and into the Seventh (Englewood) District. The officers said that a number of Eighth District police do work in Englewood---but on their days off, earning overtime as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative.

* * *

Complaints were aired about the sloppy condition of the donation drop-box at the Salvation
Army store at 63rd and Nagle. Several audience members said that people raid the boxes on  Sundays (when the store is closed) and scatter clothing, paper and other items in the immediate area.

* * *

The next CAPS meeting for Beat 812 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 at St. Symphorosa Church. All local residents are encouraged to attend. For more details, phone the Eighth District CAPS Office at 312-747-8724.

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  1. Sounds like a great meeting. Thanks for posting the recap.

  2. Westergren looks like some hipster kid you'd see gallivanting down Milwaukee Ave.

    Stone Cold Steve Austin said it best- DTA- don't trust anybody. That'll teach me to stereotype.