Saturday, November 17, 2018

2 Charged after Archer Heights Shooting

Bridgeview twins are gang members, police say

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Two 30-year-old Bridgeview men—said by police to be gang members--have been charged with weapons-related crimes after the shooting of a 23-year-old Vittum Park man—said by police to be a rival gang member.

Vincent R. Gonzalez and his twin brother, Barbarito, both of
Vincent Gonzalez
the 7800 block of South Roberts Road, were arrested after the 23-year-old was struck in the chest by gunfire during a confrontation on the street in the 4800 block of South Kostner at 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.


The 23-year-old man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition.

Police said they chased the Gonzalez brothers’ truck and
Barbarito Gonzalez
curbed it minutes later at 4500 W. 51st St., near where the street dead-ends at railroad tracks.


Police added that there had been an exchange of gunfire between the 23-year-old man and the Gonzalez brothers, and that the Gonzalez brothers' truck had bullet holes in it.

Both Gonzalez brothers were charged with unlawful use of a weapon, after handguns were found in their vehicle, police added.

Later, police found a handgun behind an air conditioning unit in the backyard of a home in the 4900 block of South Kostner, which appeared to belong to the 23-year-old man.

Bond was denied for Barbarito Gonzalez. He is currently held by the Cook County Department of Corrections. His next court date is Dec. 18.

In a public post on Facebook, the brothers' father, also named Barbarito, said his sons acted only in self-defense.

A woman identifying herself as the sister of Vincent and Barbarito Gonzalez has stated that the brothers are "successful business men, owners of a trucking company" and that they were the victims in the incident. She said they were on their way to a bar on 47th Street when they were attacked by the 23-year-old man.

(Editor's note: As always, we remind our readers that people charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.)

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Friday, November 16, 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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Man shot and killed in Hearst area
A 24-year-old Hearst area man was shot and killed as he stood on a sidewalk in the 4600 block of South Lamon at 7:10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11. Jordan L. Conley “sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen,” police said. “The offender approached the victim on foot and began firing gun shots in the victim’s direction.” Police offered no description of the suspect, who fled the scene. No one is in custody. Conley was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:56 p.m.

Waiting for a friend, shot in leg in Hearst area
A 28-year-old Englewood man was shot in the left leg as he sat in a car parked in the 4500 block of South Lawler at 12:38 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 11. After he was shot, the victim drove away and was later met by police near 25th and California. He said he had been waiting for someone when he heard several shots fired and felt pain in his leg. He was taken by CFD ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition. Police noted two bullet holes in the victim’s vehicle. There was no description of the shooter.


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Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 811 (see map), come to Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, 5550 South Merrimac, at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 20 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 Archer Heights
A 23-year-old Vittum Park man said by a law enforcement source to be a known gang member was shot in the chest during an apparent confrontation with two rival gang members—on the street in the 4800 block of South Kostner at 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6. The victim was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition. Police said they have two southwest suburban men in custody--both reputed gang members--but have not yet announced charges.





Delivery driver pursued by robbers in Garfield Ridge
A 36-year-old West Side man working as a delivery driver for Amazon narrowly escaped being robbed in a crime that occurred on the streets of Garfield Ridge at about 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8. The victim told police he was making a delivery in the 5900 block of South Major when a gray BMW with four men inside pulled up. The driver got out, grabbed his waistband (as if to imply he had a weapon) and said, “Get the f~ck out.” The victim did not comply, but instead sped away in his delivery van—south to 60th Street and then west to Monitor, where he headed north. The BMW pursued at a high rate of speed, heading through a construction site, jumping a curb and hitting a retaining wall made of landscaping bricks. The victim abandoned his van in an alley in the 5900 block of South Austin. The BMW broke off the chase and sped away. The victim was found hiding in the backyard of a home in the 5900 block of South Austin, police said. The would-be robbers were described only as Hispanic men age 25-30.





Suburban man robbed of cellphone in Chicago Lawn
A 50-year-old Oak Lawn man was robbed as he stood on a corner of 60th and Kedzie at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6. The victim told police that a man walked up and snatched away his cellphone. When the victim confronted the robber and said, “Give me back my cellphone, motherf~cker,” the offender pulled a knife. The victim backed off and said, “OK, keep the phone. I’ll see you again.” The robber then ran away through an alley. He was described as a Hispanic man age 32-35, about 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, with brown eyes, short black hair and a light complexion.





Ashburn resident charged with employee theft
An Ashburn woman was arrested and charged with employee theft after Chicago Ridge police were called to investigate missing money from Kohl’s in Chicago Ridge Mall. Khila Jones, 21, of the 3700 block of West 78th Street, was arrested and charged with employee theft after police were called by Kohl’s Loss Prevention in reference to a theft complaint that took place at the store between Oct. 27 and Nov. 7. During that time, the suspect had allegedly taken about $1,841.30 from registers. Jones, according to police, made statements to Kohl’s Loss Prevention as well as Chicago Ridge police admitting to stealing the money. Police then took Jones into custody and transferred her to the station for processing. She is charged with theft of over $500, a felony.




Home invader fails to gain entry in Garfield Ridge
A burglar tried but failed to break into a home in the 5300 block of South Natoma at 5:38 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6. The victim, a 44-year-old woman, told police that a man walked up onto her front porch, pulled at the storm door and looked in the windows. A neighbor who witnessed the crime called 911 minutes later, but the offender was not apprehended. He was last seen walking south on Natoma, towards Archer. The incident was captured on the victim’s video surveillance system, police added. The offender was described as a black man about 5-foot-10 and 230 pounds, wearing a black skull cap, and a white jacket over a white hoody.





Ceiling fans stolen by burglars in West Elsdon
Burglars kicked in the back door of a home in the 5200 block of South Kostner and stole two TVs, two ceiling fans, a pair of designer shoes and assorted children’s clothes. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 54-year-old woman, when she returned from shopping at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9.




TV set stolen in Vittum Park home burglary
Burglars entered the side window of a home in the 4700 block of South Lamon and stole a TV set. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 61-year-old woman, at about 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9.


garfieldridgenw.com

Tools taken in Clearing garage burglary
Burglars kicked in the service door of a garage in the 5400 block of West 64th Street and stole assorted tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 32-year-old man, at about 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7.




Burglars may have failed at Archer Heights home
Burglars forced open the front door of a house in the 4600 block of South Keeler, but it was initially unclear if anything was stolen. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 55-year-old woman, at about 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.





Lift stolen from school construction site
Burglars broke into the construction site of the new Dore Elementary School, 7134 W. 65th St., and stole a Sky Jack platform lift valued at $10,000. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 50-year-old man, at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6—four days after he last saw it and locked it.



Side door is burglars’ access
Burglars forced open the side door of a home in the 4300 block of West Marquette Road and stole a TV, an iPad, assorted jewelry, two purses, assorted credit cards and other valuables. The crime was reported by the victim, a 50-year-old man, at 1:35 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4.

Bust Stickney man on graffiti rap in Garfield Ridge
Jose Vazquez



A 32-year-old Stickney man was charged with criminal defacement of property and vandalism after he was arrested at 4:29 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, near the optometry shop at 6322 S. Archer.

Jose Vazquez, of the 4200 block of South Harlem, allegedly used paint to deface a building's exterior with graffiti. A CPD spokesman said the graffiti was not gang related and would not confirm that it was the optometry shop, only saying it was a building at 6322 S. Archer.

According to public records, Vazquez was arrested by CPD on a similar charge in October, in the 400 block of North Lake Shore Drive.





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For the Love of Lauren

All are invited to free workshop---like 'CPR for suicide'

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

In a neighborhood shaken by suicides—including a recent incident in which a local policeman took his own life at his Garfield Ridge home—understanding and preventing suicide is as important as ever, organizers of a free workshop said this week.

The “Proactive Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Workshop” is set for 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 at St. Rene Church, 6815 W. 63rd Place.

A number of participants have pre-registered, but walk-ups are welcome, as well.

“This workshop is for people who want to learn about suicide prevention and take an active step in an uncertain future,” said Clearing resident Amanda Vitrano, who lost her sister, Lauren, to suicide in October 2017. “They can have the knowledge and be proactive about something that can happen. They will be able to recognize the signs and know what to do if a crisis occurs. 

“Think of it like a CPR class,” she continued. “You don’t take it because you feel like you or a neighbor is about to have a heart attack. You go because you want to be prepared in case something does happen. You are arming yourself with tools in case a crisis occurs.”

Lauren Vitrano was a fourth-year pharmacy student at UIC, a
Lauren Vitrano
Kappa Psi fraternity member and a member of the Rho Chi Honor Society. 


The main presenter of the workshop is the non-profit Hope for the Day group.

“I work in an advertising agency,” Vitrano said. “One day (a year ago) they came into the office and gave us a quick 45-minute suicide prevention workshop. I never had training for suicide prevention before.

“[Hope for the Day] offers free information courses. They attend music events and go to offices and other places. They have a coffee shop, Sip of Hope in Logan Square, that donates 100 percent of the proceeds to suicide prevention efforts.”

Hope for the Day was founded by musical show producer Jonathan Boucher, who lost nine people--including his boss, mentor and friend--to suicide before founding the organization in 2011.

“They do a tremendous job bringing a voice to what no one wants to talk about,” Vitrano said. “They have been a tremendous help to my family this past year.

“I want people to understand that this (mental health and suicide) can’t be ignored. People still can’t talk about mental illness. Anyone can come, no matter what age they are.”
Growing up, Vitrano knew next to nothing about suicide other than hearing that it is a sin.

“It never seemed real to me until last year, when my sister committed suicide,” she said “It’s real and it can happen. My sister was a happy, healthy girl for 24 years of her life. Then after a few months of depression she began to think life was not worth living.”



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Thursday, November 15, 2018

See You in Court, Rainbow Motel Says

Meeting Ends With Threat to Sue City Hall

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

A month and a day after the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection declared the Rainbow Motel to be a “public nuisance,” the motel’s attorney announced that the Rainbow plans to fight City Hall with a lawsuit.

The revelation came in a Tuesday afternoon meeting at City Hall, the third in three months between city government, Rainbow owners and managers, two Southwest Side aldermen, Chicago Lawn (8th) District police and a handful of Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch members.

In a move that began last summer, several hundred Southwest Side residents have signed a petition urging City Hall to bring a “nuisance case” against the Rainbow Motel, 7050 W. Archer.

The petition drive was organized initially by 13th Ward Ald.
Marty Quinn, but was quickly handed off to new 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares. The motel is in the 23rd Ward.

Some Garfield Ridge residents—many with the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch crime fighting group—have claimed that the motel is a haven for misdemeanor crimes like prostitution, drug abuse, public urination and defecation, harassment of local school children and more.

As further evidence illustrating their concerns, GRNW members mentioned an October 26 incident at the motel, in which a woman claimed she was robbed and sexually assaulted in one of the rooms--which GRNW members and police said appeared to have been used as an overnight party room by a handful of West Side residents.

Police said there were no arrests made during the incident, but noted that several windows had been smashed--apparently by the victim's friends and relatives, who came to the motel after they heard her claims. 

A nuisance case can be a first step towards revocation of a business license.


The three meetings, according to BACP attorney Marianne Rieger, are part of a process designed to bring together businesses and neighbors with concerns. She has said that the tactic is successful a majority of the time.

The process failed Tuesday.

The meeting, scheduled to last an hour, was stopped 32 minutes after it started when Rieger declared the meeting to be unsuccessful and adjourned it—moments after Rainbow’s attorney, Adeena J. Weiss-Ortiz announced the planned lawsuit.

Most in the room appeared to agree that Rainbow management has made significant progress on a list of suggested improvements handed to them by BACP in September: upgraded security and maintenance measures, as well as improved outreach to the community.

But the sticking point between BACP and the Rainbow is short-term stays. The Rainbow rents its rooms for as little as four hours, and Weiss-Ortiz pointed out that the law allows them to do that.

Rieger countered that BACP has the administrative authority to request that the Rainbow not offer short stays—if doing so causes problems or concerns among nearby residents.

Some neighbors have said that short stays are an invitation for the Rainbow to be used by prostitutes and johns, as well as people buying and selling drugs.

Weiss-Ortiz disputed the aldermen’s contention that activity at and around the Rainbow has resulted in 44 calls for police service to date this year. In response, new Eighth District Commander Brian McDermott checked statistics he brought with him and confirmed the number.

Weiss-Ortiz claimed that BACP and the aldermen are unfairly targeting the Rainbow, and she claimed that the nearby Walgreens at Archer and Harlem generates more 911 calls, as does a comparable motel—the Skylark, near Archer and Cicero.

Nonetheless, Rainbow officials proposed a compromise: that they would only offer short stays on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays—rather than seven days a week.

The idea was rejected by Rieger, which prompted Weiss-Ortiz to announce the lawsuit.

It remains to be seen if BACP will now move to revoke the Rainbow’s business license.

Background

The Rainbow Motel has been around since 1954. Its tall sign was reportedly erected in the early 1960s so that motorists on the new Southwest Expressway (which opened in in 1964 and was later renamed the Stevenson) could see it easily.

The Rainbow expanded in the 1970s when it absorbed what had been a fast-food restaurant, according to a WBEZ-FM report last year that quoted manager Sagar Patel.

Over the years, its imaginative and occasionally outlandish “theme rooms” have included a pink palace, a space-walk room, Valentine’s suite, a Las Vegas room, a “night in Paris” room and more.

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Sunday, November 11, 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.


* * *

Teen shot in shoulder in West Lawn
A 17-year-old boy was shot in the left shoulder as he walked down a sidewalk in the 7100 block of South Central Park at 11:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1. The victim told police he heard gunshots and felt pain. He was transported to Advocate Christ Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. It was unclear if the victim is the target. No one is in custody.

Cops bust convicted felon who allegedly beat 90-year-old grandma
A 39-year-old West Elsdon man was charged with aggravated battery after he allegedly hit
Michael McInerney
his 90-year-old grandmother.


Michael J. McInerney was arrested at 9:50 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30 at the Saratoga Motel, 7701 S. Cicero, by members of the CPD Fugitive Apprehension Unit.

According to CPD officers speaking at a CAPS Beat 815/821 last week, the crime reportedly occurred on Tuesday, Oct. 23 in a home in the 5400 block of South Kenneth.

Described as a "dirtbag" by an officer at the meeting, McInerney is currently held without bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, November 19.

According to public records, McInerney was arrested near 55th and Paulina in January 2016 and charged with possession of cocaine and heroin. Later that year he was sentenced to four years in prison. He was paroled earlier this year.

In 2010, McInerney was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for possession of a stolen vehicle. In 2007 he was convicted of residential burglary. In 2005 he was convicted of attempted burglary. In 2003 he was convicted of aiding the sale or possession of a stolen vehicle. In 1997 McInerney was convicted on two counts of armed robbery.



* * *

Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 812 (see map), come to St. Symphorosa School, 6135 S. Austin, at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 14 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.




* * *

Charge man with DUI on Archer
Ranulfo Cabrera


A 66-year-old Near West Side man was charged with DUI and swerving over the center line into oncoming traffic after he was arrested at 8:42 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 in front of 6142 S. Archer.


Ranulfo Cabrera, of the 2400 block of West Polk, “was also positively identified as the offender of a hit and run that just occurred minutes prior within the area of arrest,” said a CPD spokesman without elaborating.








Burglars hit home on Kolin
Burglars pried open the back door of a home in the 4800 block of South Kolin and two TVs, a video game console and controller, eight video games, a car title and two jewelry boxes containing jewels. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 43-year-old man, at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.




Charge Canaryville man with theft at Jewel
Joseph Dorman


A 40-year-old Canaryville man was charged with retail theft after he allegedly stole merchandise from the Jewel-Osco at 6107 S. Archer at 4:37 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26.

Joseph A. Dorman, of the 4000 block of South Wallace, was apprehended after he reportedly was spotted putting merchandise in a duffel bag and then leaving the store. 

Police refused to say what the merchandise was. He is due in court on Jan. 2.

According to public records, Dorman has been arrested four times by CPD since 2015, on such charges as assault and possession of a controlled substance.





Armed bandit makes off with Foot Locker merchandise
An armed bandit robbed the Foot Locker store at 5125 S. Pulaski at 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, making off with an estimated $1,200 worth of merchandise. A 19-year-old store clerk told police that the man walked in and grabbed about five sweaters and pairs of pants from a rack. When the clerk approached him, the man said, “Get away from me” and displayed the butt of a pistol. The robber then ran away, with the stolen merchandise, north on Pulaski. He was described as a black man age 45-49, about 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair in dreadlocks and a dark complexion. He wore a black baseball cap, a black hoody and light blue jeans.






Camera, cash stolen from business
Burglars used a large rock to smash the front-door glass of Las Cerezas, 6659 S. Cicero, enter and steal a camera and about $700 cash. The crime was reported to police at 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4. According to the store’s video surveillance, the crime occurred at 3:06 a.m. Two masked men wearing gloves committed the offense. They appeared to be about 18-25 years old, about 5-foot-8 and 140 pounds.




Say woman was panhandling, blocking traffic
Dorota Mucha


A 39-year-old Garfield Ridge woman was charged with obstruction of traffic by a non-motorist after she was arrested at 3:11 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, on the street in front of 7141 W. Archer.

Dorota Mucha, of the 5800 block of South Harlem, “was placed into custody after officers on patrol observed the offender standing on the roadway while construction was occurring, begging for money,” a CPD spokesman said.

According to public records, Mucha has been arrested eight times by CPD since 2014, on such charges as possession of a controlled substance and solicitation of a ride on a roadway by a pedestrian.



garfieldridgenw.com


Burglars steal computers and more
Burglars pried open the front door of an apartment in the 4000 block of West 87th Street and stole two laptop computers, two pair of designer eyeglasses, a designer purse, a book bag, $25 cash and assorted jewelry. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 30-year-old woman, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30.





Unlocked garage hit by burglars
Burglars entered an unlocked garage in the 4700 block of South Lavergne and stole a bicycle and a garage door opener. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 36-year-old man, at 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 1.

Windows smashed, handgun swiped in burglary
Burglars broke into a house in the 5200 block of South Kilpatrick and stole a pistol. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 30-year-old woman, when she came home at about 3 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31. A number of windows in the home had been smashed, the victim reported.




Unlocked apartment is scene of burglary
Burglars entered an unlocked apartment in the 5100 block of South Kildare and stole a TV, two laptop computers and a pair of designer sunglasses. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 51-year-old woman, at about 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26.

Five purses, jewelry, cash, computer taken
Burglars pried open the rear door of a basement apartment in the 4300 block of West Marquette Road and stole a laptop computer, five purses, assorted jewelry and $1,500 cash. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 63-year-old woman, at about 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4.





Charge man with possession of drug paraphernalia
Jeremy Ian Kall


A 23-year-old Garfield Ridge man was charged one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia after he was arrested at 5:40 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22.

Jeremy Ian Kall, of the 5100 block of South Moody, was arrested in the 5400 block of South Nordica, police said. They offered no other details.

According to public records, Kall was arrested twice before by CPD since 2015—once for misdemeanor assault and once for aggravated fleeing.


Air Jordans delivered, but stolen from porch
A 22-year-old Brighton Park man reported that someone apparently stole a FedEx package off his from porch, in the 4500 block of South Drake, between the hours of 1:50 and 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. The package contained a pair of Nike Air Jordan athletic shoes—valued at $340—that he had purchased on eBay. FedEx confirmed the delivery, but the package was nowhere to be found, the victim told police.








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