Monday, February 26, 2018

Sarcastic Applause for Man Who Reportedly Clapped for Accused Cop Killer

A 35-year-old Back of the Yards man who was scorned by
Eddie Negron
many for allegedly applauding an accused cop-killer, was himself applauded--in a derisive, mocking fashion--by Cook County Department of Corrections officers and supervisors.

Eddie Negron, of the 5400 block of South Marshfield, was given the sarcastic cheer as he was taken into custody by CPD Area Central Detectives after he left criminal court at 26th and California at about 3:45 p.m. Friday on an unrelated charge, according to the popular Second City Cop blog. 

Negron was apprehended and charged with one felony count of robbery in connection with a crime that occurred Friday, Feb. 9 at a retail establishment in the 0-100 block of East Roosevelt Road, according to a statement from CPD.

"Negron was positively identified by an employee of the establishment as the individual who grabbed and pulled the victim's wrist with his hand and left the store without paying for numerous items," the statement continued. "Additionally, Negron left his wallet at the scene."

Bond was set at $20,000, and Negron is due in court on Friday, March 2.

Negron is one of several inmates who reportedly applauded when CCDOC officers escorted convicted felon Shomari Legghette to a criminal court hearing on Feb. 15. Legghette is charged with murdering CPD Commander Paul Bauer earlier this month in the Loop.

Video of inmates applauding Legghette--released to the press by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and seen hundreds of thousands of times on the internet--sparked outrage among law-abiding people across the city and even around the world.

As punishment for applauding, Dart reportedly transferred several inmates to jails outside Cook County, temporarily.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Rapper on the Rise

Southside Jake succeeds with blue-collar hip hop

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

A rap artist recently gave the Southwest Side a weather-related chuckle, but his continued rise to fame and acclaim is no joke.

Southside Jake, a Garfield Ridge resident, lit up local social media with posts about his “Snow Day” video he pulled together with two other rappers—Kidd Russell and Thé Fatman.

The song is a light-hearted romp through the snow—literally—by three men who have learned that they have the day off because of heavy snow.

South Side Jake (right) celebrates a snow day with Kidd Russell and Thé Fatman.

Weather aside, the rise of Southside Jake (officially Jake Tuton) has been steadily happening in recent years—a success he chalks up to keeping his lyrics real and speaking from experience. His best-known rap, South Side Girl, has become an anthem of sorts and can often be heard on digital jukeboxes at sports bars and other watering holes on the Southwest Side.

“The best and shortest way to describe what I do is ‘blue-collar hip hop,’” Southside Jake explained. “It’s rap music, for sure…but I’m from here. I’m from the Southwest Side. My two biggest songs are South Side Girl and City Kids. So it’s very everyday, very blue-collar, very much about the struggles of the ordinary person.”

It’s “catching the Orange Line, going downtown, Archer Avenue, Weber’s Bakery,” he continued. “This neighborhood’s a lot of firefighters, police officers, union workers. I’m living and breathing that every day--so you kind of write what you know.”

Southside Jake, 32, grew up in the Ford City condominium
Southside Jake in action.
His journey from boy to rap artist started early.

“I grew up listening to music,” he recalled, noting that his influences include rockers like the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Metallica, as well as rappers like Jay-Z and Common, I just grew up with everything on the iPod list, so the music just kind of comes from everywhere.”

He recalled that he “was a little kid writing little rap poems; and then hanging out here in the neighborhood, we’d just rap and freestyle at parties and stuff. And people were like, ‘Hey, you’re actually pretty good at this. You need to pursue it, you need to pursue it. So I branded it and came up with it and at first made some really, really bad songs; and you know, like the whole routine.”

Since hitting his stride as an artist about six years ago, he has enjoyed steady success. He has performed at Lollapalooza three times and notes, "We’re on iTunes, Spotify, AMI jukeboxes all over North America…so yeah, the music has some legs underneath it at this point.”

South Side Girl “was something I had it in my head forever, years before I wrote it,” he said. “There’s something special about our brand of ladies down here (on the Southwest Side). You know what I mean? Cuss you out, no nonsense, call it like they see it; but also beautiful, elegant, like a ying and yang thing. And I thought, ‘Nobody captures that, nobody really represents. There’s something special going on, on the Southwest Side and I don’t know if that’s ever been properly captured, at least on the female side of it.’ I wanted to make a tribute song, I had it in my head forever, and I finally said, ‘OK, we’re doing it,’ and it came to fruition.”

While some may express surprise that a rapper on the rise calls Garfield Ridge home, Southside Jake sees a different picture.

“There are a lot of musicians down here (on the Southwest Side), and there’s more vibrant stuff going on here than most people understand,” he said. “There are some metal bands out here that had record deals in like the ‘80s. There are some really good cover bands. There’s a lot of buzz around here. You pop into Lindy’s on a Saturday, and there’s always somebody playing, or at the Twisted Shamrock. There’s good musicians out here, for sure. Just gotta open your eyes and ears a bit.”

Southside Jake’s newest venture is a project called Kildare.

“There’s a rock guitarist from the neighborhood who’s had a high level of success…Matt Szlachta. He’s in this heavy metal band called Broken Hope, super aggressive stuff, way too aggressive for me, way too heavy…it’s like my world meets his world—guitar infused with hip hop. It’s a huge collaboration that’s been going on, and I’m excited about it. You’ll all hear about it soon.”

Kildare just announced a show on March 15 at The Forge in Joliet. For details, visit

St. Laurence Hosts NCAA Final Four Fun

St. Laurence High School is hosting its 18th annual Final Four Extravaganza on Saturday, March 24.

This year’s event--held at the school, 5556 W. 77th St., Burbank--features a Super Raffle with cash prizes, including a $5,000 grand prize* to one lucky winner. Tickets are $60 in advance, $70 at the door the night of the event, and include free food and drink throughout the evening.

The “Evening of Baskets and Bucks” offers Las Vegas-style gaming amidst the excitement of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The event will also feature a large craft-beer tasting area. The entire event is open only to adults age 21 and up. 

Supporters of the school are invited to attend and renew acquaintances with friends, faculty, and alumni. Proceeds will directly benefit the students at the Catholic, college-preparatory school.

“As always, we truly look forward to welcoming all of those who share the spirit and the enthusiasm of our St. Laurence community,” said Joe Martinez, school president.

The Final Four Extravaganza includes areas dedicated to casino games, food and beverage service, a raffle, craft-beer tasting, and basketball viewing on large television screens. These activities are open from 4 p.m. until midnight.

The event is sponsored by St. Laurence High School, in cooperation with the Fathers’ Club and Mothers’ Club. 

To purchase tickets, or for additional information about St. Laurence’s Final Four Extravaganza, call (708) 458-6900, ext. 237, or visit, and click on the Alumni page. Link:

*Exact grand prize determined by number of tickets sold; grand prize may be prorated.

Sign Up for Midway Baseball, Softball

Our friends at the Midway Baseball Association have asked us to remind everyone that it's not too late to sign up for baseball and softball for the 2018 season!

Check the flyer below for details. Batter up!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Alderman Curtis Plans Easter Egg Hunt

If you live in the 18th Ward, make plans to attend this fun Easter event!

Scientist Supports Our Position, Homeowners Say About Defective Windows

Will reveal details at public meeting at West Lawn Park

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

A prominent, university-based scientist supports Southwest
Side homeowners’ contention that government-supplied windows may be poisoning them, a leader of the Midway Defective Window Recipients group said this week.

“We will reveal details, as well as provide an update on the current situation and talk about our next steps” at a public meeting set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26 at West Lawn Park, 4233 W. 65th St., according to MDWR co-founder Pam Zidarich, a Chrysler Village homeowner.

All are invited to the meeting, especially local homeowners who have received windows and doors through the Chicago Department of Aviation’s Residential Sound Insulation Program.

After a story reported exclusively by the Southwest News-Herald last June, hundreds of Southwest Siders who received RSIP windows and doors in recent years have come forward to report foul odors emitted by their windows and doors.

Some homeowners fear that the odors are more than annoying—that they may contain chemicals harmful to human health. Some of those same homeowners have reported cancer diagnoses and respiratory ailments in children.

One is Bozena Sus, who with her family has owned a two flat near 60th and Kilpatrick since 1983.

“When we moved here, things were very quiet,” she said in a conversation at her home last Monday. “But then the airport came back to life, it expanded, the Orange Line was built, and suddenly we had a lot of noise.”

In 2008, Sus learned that her home qualified for RSIP windows. She applied and was accepted. All windows in her home were replaced that year with sound-blocking windows.
“But right from the start, we had problems,” she said. “The smell was there, and it never went away. Plus there were other problems,” like faulty window seals that let in air, sound and rain. The leaky windows led to mechanical problems, rusting metal parts and making the windows difficult if not impossible to open and close.

Bozena Sus and Pam Zidarich examine defective RSIP windows.

One of Sus’ sons, an otherwise healthy high school boy, developed asthma in the years after the windows were installed.

“We did not know what was causing it,” Sus recalled. “We took him to doctors, had tests performed—nothing. We removed the carpets from our home—nothing. Then a few years later, when he moved out to his own place, his asthma stopped—just like that.”

Another family member living in the building was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she added.

Like a number of Southwest Side homeowners, Sus expressed frustration with what she says is a prolonged, poor response of Department of Aviation officials.

“I’ve called again and again—and the few times they have come out, they always tell me not to worry,” she said. “They say the smell is harmless. And then another time, they say there is no smell at all.

“What frustrates me is being ignored,” Sus continued. “I don’t know if they hear a woman with an accent and figure they can get away with ignoring me, or what.”

She said that a CDA subcontractor came out late last fall and offered to remove some of the windows from her home, but she declined—saying her family would not go through a Chicago winter with missing windows.

She said that CDA is scheduled to come back to her home in early May.

“In addition to frustrating, this is all very stressful,” Sus said. “Every day that the Department of Aviation does nothing, my family has to live in our home and go through the uncertainty of not knowing what we are breathing—if it is making us sick or even killing us. We are working people, taxpayers. We don’t deserve this.”

Earlier this year, CDA officials said that tests they conducted in nine homes near Midway Airport do not show a health hazard linked to the defective windows.

Many local homeowners criticized the tests as flawed. CDA officials say they will continue to test this spring and summer.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Red Barrel Opens This Week; High-End, Destination Restaurant on Archer Ave.

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

It's been quite some time since a top-shelf, destination
The iconic Red Barrel exterior.
restaurant opened on the Southwest Side.

This Thursday, one will open in Archer Heights, in the old Red Barrel space just west of Archer and Kostner.

The owners, respected local businessmen (and brothers) Luis and Carlos Vazquez decided to revive the Red Barrel name--in part as a nod to the old Red Barrel restaurant that was there decades ago.

The old Red Barrel was a genial neighborhood place known for its casual and affordable eats, cozy atmosphere that included peanut shells on the floor and rabbits in a hutch just outside the north windows.

After the first Red Barrel closed, it was briefly Szalas, a Polish-style restaurant, for several years; but it has sat vacant for too long.

The Red Barrel of 2018 brings that dining experience to whole new level.

At an invitation-only sneak peek on Monday, February 19, the Vazquez brothers and staff wowed dozens of community leaders: fellow business owners, clergy, school principals and teachers, civic association officials and many more.

Swift and friendly wait staff served tantalizing appetizers like grilled calamari, baked cheese chorizo, popcorn shrimp, spinach artichoke dip and more.

Sumptuous main courses included broiled cedar-plank salmon, baked rigatoni, almond-crusted Mahi, Polish meatballs, braised short ribs, four different cuts of steak, pan-seared scallops, thick pork chop with honey mustard glaze and more.

Top-shelf liquors, wine and craft beers helped the evening flow nicely.

All served in a beautiful setting that keeps much of the charming, hunting-lodge feel of the place, but with extensive renovations and improvement.

What the Vazquez brothers have put into their new venture is impressive.

Everyone on the Southwest Side who appreciates dining that is a cut above most other restaurants, really should give Red Barrel a try, and soon.

If Red Barrel succeeds--and we certainly hope it does--it will be as a classy, destination restaurant that draws customers from well beyond the neighborhood--diners from the Loop and North Side, as well as the west and southwest suburbs.

A real feather in the cap for Archer Heights, already one of the better neighborhoods in Chicago.

Red Barrel's menu is both diverse and creative. Please check it out at

Many thanks to Luis and Carlos Vazquez. May your reign on Archer Avenue be long and prosperous.

Here are a few photos we shot at Monday night's sneak peek. See you soon at Red Barrel?

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Garfield Ridge Artist Earns Acclaim

Garfield Ridge resident Rachel Kapusciarz is one of six
Mother McAuley High School students who recently took top honors in the prestigious Scholastic Art, Midwest Regional Competition.

Presented by the nonprofit organization, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative students in grades 7–12.

A senior at McAuley, Rachel received a Gold Key for her drawing titled Safari, and a Silver Key for her editorial cartoon sponsored by The Herb Block Foundation.

Additionally, Rachel received two "honorable mentions" for her artworks titled Xanadu and Interesting Closet Space.

This program year, more than 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted to 122 affiliate regions across the country. As one of the largest national affiliates, the Belin-Blank Center adjudicated over 7,000 pieces of art and writing from the Iowa and Midwest Regions. Creative teens from Iowa and the Midwest received regional honors, including Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, and/or American Visions & Voices nominations.

“The Mother McAuley Visual Arts & Technology Department faculty are elated to have our student artwork recognized and honored, not only within the state of Illinois but within the Midwest region,” said Visual Arts & Technology Department Chair Kathy Gordon Davis. “These artworks are the manifestation of our young women engaging their imagination, thinking outside the box, developing disciplined effort, building self-confidence and technical skills.”

Also earning commendations in the competition were McAuley seniors Yessica Pineda and Emily Tonkovich, junior Elizabeth Ward and sophomore Abby Graeber.

Photo Caption: (From left to right) Emily Tonkovich, Rachel Kapusciarz, Abby Graeber, Elizabeth Ward, Charlotte Wagner and Yessica Pineda.

Monday, February 5, 2018

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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Angry pot seller run over by fleeing buyer
An 18-year-old man from suburban Franklin Park was listed in critical condition at Loyola University Medical Center after he was injured on the street in front of 6908 W. Archer at about 8:50 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1. The victim’s girlfriend, a 19-year-old River Forest woman, told police that her boyfriend was at the scene to sell cannabis to another man. The victim reportedly handed over the cannabis, but the buyer ran away without paying. The seller chased him, but the buyer reportedly jumped in an SUV. The seller apparently tried to stop the vehicle, but appears to have been dragged as the vehicle backed up on Archer. The victim was ejected onto the sidewalk near the entrance of Southwest Ace Hardware (it had been closed for about an hour at that point), and the SUV sped away west. When police arrived, the victim was still on the sidewalk, incoherent and with multiple skull fractures, broken facial bones and a broken arm. On Monday afternoon, police said the driver of the SUV was not yet in custody. Surveillance footage from a nearby camera captured some of the crime.

Photo below: Seller chases buyer through hardware store's parking lot, toward Archer.

Photo below: The buyer's SUV (with brake lights), stopped momentarily just after the victim was thrown to the sidewalk, a moment before it pulled away and headed west on Archer.

Reputed gang member shot in the leg
A 32-year-old Chicago Lawn man described by police as a documented gang member was shot in the right calf as he walked with friends down a sidewalk in front of 6602 S. St. Louis at 10:11 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4. The victim was driven to Holy Cross Hospital, where he was reportedly uncooperative with police investigating the crime. A witness told police that the shooter shouted a gang slogan and fired from a white Uplander SUV. No one is in custody.

Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beats 815 or 821 (see map), come to St. Bruno School (south end), 4839 S. Harding, at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 7 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.

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Reputed gang member shot in the back
A 26-year-old Chicago Lawn man described by police as a documented gang member was shot in the lower back and right thigh as he stood on a sidewalk in front of 3456 W. 66th St. at 1:42 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5. The victim told police that a rival gang member shot hi, but was generally uncooperative with their investigation. The victim was listed in critical condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center.

Reputed gang member shot in the ankle
A 24-year-old man described by a law enforcement source as a documented gang member was shot in the ankle as he walked down a sidewalk in the 6400 block of South Kedzie at 3:01 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2. The shooter fired from a red van. The victim was transported to Holy Cross Hospital, where he was listed in good condition. No one is in custody.

Man shot in the leg
A 25 year-old man was shot in the leg as he stood in the 2600 block of West 64th Street at 7:10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1. He was transported to Advocate Christ Hospital, where he was listed in good condition. No one is in custody.

Bar patron beaten unconscious, robbed
A 24-year-old West Lawn man was beaten unconscious and robbed when he walked in a bathroom of a bar at 3344 W. 47th St. at about 3 a.m. Jan. 28. The victim had been drinking at the bar and was jumped by four or five thugs, who beat him and stole his Matricula ID, driver’s license and $250 cash. A worker at the bar reportedly told the victim that the attackers were local gang members. He helped the victim to his car. The following day, the victim awoke with a headache and drove himself to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was treated for a concussion. The crime was reported to police on Jan. 30. The attackers were described only as Hispanic men.

Suburbanites carjacked at Wendy’s
A 19-year-old Orland Park man told police that a gunman carjacked him as he sat in his vehicle in the parking lot of Wendy’s, 5679 S. Archer, at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31. The victim told police that he and two passengers—a 20-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman, both Bridgeview residents—were approached by a thug who had just gotten out of the passenger side of a blue SUV. The criminal pulled a revolver and ordered them out of the vehicle, a silver 2006 Hyundai Tucson. They complied, and the gunman jumped in and sped away east on Archer. The thug was described only as a white man age 20-30.

Robbed while working in garage
A 56-year-old West Elsdon man was robbed at gunpoint as he worked in his garage in the 3700 block of West 58th Place at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 29. The victim told police that two men walked up, placed a gun to the back of his head and ordered him to lie on the floor. The victim refused, but did surrender $400 cash. While the thugs were counting the money, the victim fled into his house. The robbers were described only as black men.

Robbed while working in garage
A 42-year-old West Lawn man and a 35-year-old Brighton Park man were robbed at gunpoint as they worked in a garage in the 3800 block of West 60th Place at 1:35 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30. The victims told police that two criminals walked up, waved guns and ordered them to lie on the floor. They complied, and the robbers took $340 from the younger man and $250 from the other man before running away east. They were described as black men age 24-27, about 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds, wearing dark-colored clothes. 

Gunmen threaten railroad security guard
A 34-year-old unarmed security guard was threatened at gunpoint as she confronted three criminals stealing items on BNSF railroad property near 3900 W. 41st St. at 7:40 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 4. The victim told police that she was responding to a call of men entering the rail yard through a hole in a fence. When she spotted them stealing boxes from a nearby truck trailer, one thug pointed a pistol at her and said, “I’ll shoot you, b~tch.” They then fled in a silver PT Cruiser. The police report did not indicate what exactly was stolen or provide a significant description of the criminals.


Danny’s burglars seen on camera
Burglars entered Danny’s Neighborhood Pub, 6021 S. Archer, and stole two cash drawers containing about $200 cash. The crime was discovered by a manager, a 28-year-old West Lawn man, at about 8 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 4. Security footage showed the burglars entering via a door on the west side of the building at about 3:45 a.m. and exiting via the front door. Danny’s owners have posted surveillance images on the eatery’s Facebook page.
Burglar creeping out the front door of Danny's.

Steal skid steers from Bobcat
Burglars forced their way through a gate at the Midway Airport cellular lot at 6239 S. Cicero and stole a set of skid steers from a Bobcat parked at the site. The skid steers are valued at $1,200, according to a project superintendent for the victim, a Rosemont-based general contractor.

Three bikes and more swiped from garage
Burglars broke through the service door and the overhead door of a garage in the 5500 block of South Keeler and stole three bicycles, a five-ton jack, an air compressor, a small vacuum and assorted tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 44-year-old man, at 8 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2.

Garage burglary may have been interrupted
Burglars forced open the service door of a garage in the 5200 block of South Lawndale but apparently failed to steal anything. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 31-year-old woman, at 1:28 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2. She told police that several valuables from the garage were stacked by a door, but apparently the crime was interrupted and the burglars fled.

Purse with cash taken from home
Burglars forced open the front door of a home in the 3600 block of West 67th Place and stole a purse with about $230 inside. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 40-year-old woman, at about 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1.

Garage on Komensky burglarized
Burglars broke into a garage in the 4400 block of South Komensky and stole a concrete cutter, two weed trimmers, two leaf blowers, a nail gun, a compressor, a tile cutter, two hammer drills, a portable drill with battery, and a Midas saw. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 49-year-old man, at about 3 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 4.

No loot for burglar at Kedzie restaurant
A burglar tried but failed to break all the way into Krispy’s Seafood and Chicken, 8255 S. Kedzie. The store’s surveillance cameras showed a man trying to pry open a rear door shortly after 6 a.m. Jan. 29, but then giving up and leaving. Footage showed him to be a black man age 30-45, about 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, wearing a blue, button-up winter jacket.

Delayed report of garage burglary
Burglars broke into a garage in the 6100 block of South Kenneth and stole a snow blower, a grass trimmer, a leaf blower, two car speakers, a cordless drill and other items. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 42-year-old man, at 7 a.m. Jan. 15 but was not reported until two weeks later.

Ladder stolen from garage
Burglars forced open the service door of a garage in the 4800 block of South Karlov and stole a metal extension ladder. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 53-year-old man, at 4:50 p.m. Jan. 30.

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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 814 (see map), come to Vittum Park, 5050 W. 50th St., at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, February 8 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.

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Burglars hit elderly woman’s garage
Burglars forced open the overhead door of a garage in the 3900 block of West 83rd Street and stole three car jacks, three toolboxes, two hand drills, a welding machine, a car jumper set, 4 vehicle rims, four tires and other items. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 78-year-old woman, at about 5 a.m. Jan. 22. She reported it to police nine days later.

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