Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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 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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Reputed gang member shot in Parkview neighborhood
A 29-year-old West Side man said by police to be a gangbanger was shot in his car in the 8600 block of South Lawndale at 12:07 a.m. Monday, July 17. The victim suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition. The victim told police he was waiting to pick up his girlfriend when a gray Mitsubishi SUV pulled up. A man got out, started walking toward the victim and began firing a gun. The victim put his car in reverse and tried to speed away but was hit. The shooter got back in the SUV and sped away west on 86th Place. He was described only as a black man.

Reputed gang member stabbed over girlfriend spat
A 20-year-old Archer Heights man said by police to be a gang member was stabbed during a fight on the street in front of 6001 S. Archer at 1:40 a.m. Saturday, July 15. The victim’s girlfriend—a 21-year-old McKinley Park woman--told police that she and the victim were walking down a sidewalk, arguing, when three men in an older Chevy Tahoe pulled up. When one of the men asked the victim, “Why you put your hands on your b~tch?” the girlfriend replied that the victim had not hit her in any way and that she was OK. The SUV pulled away but returned a short time later. The three men got out and said to the victim, “You put your hands on a female? You a b~tch, you a b~tch.” The trio then started fighting with the victim, and one of them stabbed him. They fled the scene as the victim lay in the middle of Archer, his girlfriend applying pressure to the stab wounds to slow the bleeding. The victim was taken to Loyola University Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition. The three offenders were described only as Hispanic men age 25-30.

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beats 813 or 833 (see map), come to West Lawn Park at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 25 and attend your monthly CAPS meeting. 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.

No loot for robbers of Vittum Park gas station
Two men tried to rob the BP gas station at 4520 S. Cicero at 11:05 p.m. Sunday, July 16 but apparently came up empty handed. A 25-year-old clerk told police that the men walked in, waved a pistol and demanded to be let in the station’s back door. The clerk did not open the door but ran to the station’s office and locked himself in, until he saw on a video monitor that the men had fled the scene. Both men were described as about 20-25 years old, one with a light complexion and the other dark. Both wore dark clothing and face masks.

Gunman makes off with $400 from Shell
A pistol-waving man made off with about $400 cash after he robbed the Shell gas station at 4900 S. Cicero at 3:42 a.m. Sunday, July 16. A 25-year-old cashier told police that the man was able to fit the gun through the change slot in the cashier’s booth and point it at the employee, saying, “Give me all the money.” The cashier complied, and the robber grabbed the cash and ran away north on Cicero. He was described as a white man with an olive complexion, about 5-foot-11 and 140 pounds. 

Soccer coach punched, threatened with knife
A 42-year-old West Elsdon man coaching a soccer match in Pasteur Park, 58th and Kostner, was punched and threatened with a knife by a man apparently upset over a fight on the field. The victim told police he was breaking up a fight between two players when the offender joined in the fight. He punched the coach in the face and then ran off, returning with a knife that he swung at the coach. When the victim called 911, the offender ran away. He was described as a black man age 20-30, about 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, with short black hair and a dark complexion.


‘Shush, shush, sweetie,’ robber says to cashier
A man wearing sunglasses and work gloves robbed the Walgreens at 7045 S. Pulaski at 9:22 p.m. Sunday, July 16. A 22-year-old cashier told police that the robber initially posed as a customer buying a pack of gum but then pulled a pistol and said, “Shush, shush. Just give it to me, sweetie.” He then pulled the drawer out of the register and grabbed about $1,000 cash. He left the store and ran away east, through the parking lot. He was described as a black man age 35-45, about 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair and a dark complexion. He wore dark clothing.

Shooting story yields no crime scene
Three Garfield Ridge men—ages 21-23—told police they were fired at as they drove east in the 3900 block of West 66th Street at 11:56 p.m. Saturday, July 15. The victims told police that a man on the street fired multiple times in their direction. One of the victim was hit in the upper left leg and suffered a graze wound to the right side of his body. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition. Another victim suffered a graze wound to the upper right shoulder. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. The victims said that after the shooting, they drove to a bar in the 5700 block of South Archer, where they called 911. The shooter was described only as a Hispanic man with a shaved head, wearing a red shirt. Police investigating said they were initially unable to locate evidence of a crime scene in the 3900 block of West 66th Street.

Robbers use gun, baseball bat against man on Kildare
A 21-year-old Archer Heights man was robbed at gunpoint as he sat in his car in the 4800 block of South Kildare at about 3 a.m. Saturday, July 15. He reported the crime to police about three hours later, saying that two men walked up to his vehicle—one waving a pistol and the other using a base ball bat to smash the driver’s side window. The robbers stole the victim’s two cell phones and his wallet, which he said contained about $200 cash. Descriptions of both men were vague.


Woman robbed by gunman at CTA bus stop
A 53-year-old West Lawn woman was robbed at gunpoint as she stood at a CTA bus stop at 3658 W. 71st St. at 2:30 p.m. Friday, July 14. The victim told police a man pointed a gun at her and demanded her bags. She complied and the offender ran away north on Lawndale. Stolen were her purse, lunch bag and $200 cash. The robber was described as a black man age 18-20, about 5-foot-6 and 155 pounds, with brown eyes, short black hair and a medium complexion. He wore a reddish orange t-shirt and pants. 

Garage on Normandy burglarized
Burglars pried open the service door of a garage in the 5400 block of South Normandy and stole a snow blower, a lawnmower and assorted tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 64-year-old woman, at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 15.

Jewelry, cash swiped in burglary on Lawndale
Burglars pried open the front door of a home in the 4700 block of South Lawndale and stole about $7,000 worth of jewelry, about $2,500 cash and other items. The crime was discovered by the victim, an 81-year-old man, at about 5 p.m. Saturday, July 15.

Bikes, tools and more stolen from garage 
Burglars kicked in the service door of a garage in the 5900 block of South Kenneth and stole two bicycles, assorted power tools, a car jack, assorted hand tools and a generator. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 59-year-old woman, at 9 a.m. Sunday, July 9. She reported the crime to police five days later.

Burning SUV in alley was stolen in carjacking
A 2015 Toyota Rav4 SUV found in flames at 11:27 p.m. Friday, July 14 in the alley behind 6335 S. Knox had been stolen in a hijacking, police said. The vehicle belongs to a 20-year-old Bridgeport woman. Initial efforts to contact her were not successful.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Car Show Brings 'Cool' to West Lawn

Several dozen classic cars and other vehicles rolled into the parking lot of Lawn Lanes, 6750 S. Pulaski, last Sunday and spilled onto the adjacent 68th Street--just one block north of what decades ago was one of the most famous--or infamous--teen drag strips (69th Street) on the Southwest Side.

The event, which included vehicles as old as a 1928 Ford Model A and as new as tricked-out SUVs just a few years old, was sponsored by the Greater Southwest Development Corporation.

Several owners showed a sense of humor as they employed catchy signs and even a rubber snake (under the hood of a Chevy Monte Carlo, below) to prevent fans from touching the “look but don’t touch” vehicles.

...or this sign in the windshield of a 1957 Ford Thunderbird:

Felix Lopez' extremely limited-edition 1967 Chevy Camaro (one owner!) is so authentic, it even sports a 1967 City of Chicago vehicle sticker, complete with the signature of Mayor Richard J. Daley.

Thanks to DevCorp, the car show was a party with a purpose, as several local businesses and two excellent West Lawn schools--St. Nicholas of Tolentine and St. Mary Star of the Sea--set up tents and offered information about themselves.

More cool cars and other vehicles:

Well done, DevCorp. Thanks!

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

And the Winner Is: Garfield Ridge

First-ever Garfield Ridge Stars & Stripes 5K Run a Success

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Smashing all expectations, the inaugural Garfield Ridge Stars & Stripes 5K Run appears to be a win-win for the neighborhood, as well as the surrounding Southwest Side area.

About 600 runners and walkers--ages 6 to 70--turned out, mostly from the Southwest Side, but also from all across the Chicago area. The event attracted out-of-state runners from Virginia, Massachusetts and other places. There were even runners from Sweden, Britain and Australia, according to West Lawn resident Juan Ortega, the official race coordinator.

The race started at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 1--beginning and ending at Wentworth Park, 57th and Narragansett.

"When we first started planning the race, we went out and got a feel for the neighborhood and where we would be running. I knew I wanted 300 runners minimum, but in my heart of hearts I was hoping for 500 to 600," Ortega said.

He added, "For a first time event, you usually don't come up with 400 to 500 runners. To come up with this number of people is awesome. It's a great thing."

The entire event was a product of Tri-Builders, a non-profit youth triathlon team that since its founding in 2013 has worked to encourage boys and girls to embrace physical fitness, said Ortega, a founder of the group, whose daughters—age 15 and 13—are members in the group.

The run honored first responders, "It's a great event to honor men and women who wear the uniform. It's an opportunity for the community to come out for those who serve and protect, whether's it's city or country," Ortega said.

Proceeds from race will be split between The Wounded Warrior Project, The 100 Club of Chicago and The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.

Those who could not attend the event are invited to visit runsignup.com/Race/IL/Chicago/StarsandStripesRun. There is a donate button, as well as a sign up button, said Ortega.

A key supporter of the event was the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch.

“This was more than a race—it was basically a community challenge,” said Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch President Al Cacciottolo. “We wanted as many people as possible to run in the race—but for those of us who are not in shape to run a race like that, we wanted everyone to step away from the TV, the computer, whatever, and go out to the curbs of the course and cheer on the runners, and get outside and meet each other. A secure neighborhood starts with good people making connections, of getting to know each other and look out for each other.”

On Saturday afternoon, Cacciottolo described the race as "a success on every level."

A number of the runners were police officers, firefighters and active-duty military.

“That’s one reason this was held on July 1,” Cacciottolo added. “It’s just before the Fourth of July, and it follows the annual Patriot’s Day Parade (Friday, June 30 this year). In a way, it’s an opportunity for our community to step outside and thank those men and women who protect us.”

He said the hope is to “make this into a big event as years go by. There are runs like this in other Chicago neighborhoods, like Beverly and Lakeview—as well as a number of suburbs. Why not here in Garfield Ridge? We’re every bit as good as they are.”

Below are a handful of photos, courtesy of Al Cacciottolo, Tri-Builders and others, posted publicly on local social media sites.

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