Thursday, March 28, 2019

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 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 while driving
A 37-year-old man—said by a law enforcement source to be a gang member--was shot in the back as he drove his vehicle in the 5800 block of South Hamlin just after 3 a.m. Thursday, March 24. He was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition. He said he was unable to provide police with a description of the shooter or the vehicle he fired from.



* * *

Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in and/or own a business in Beats 815 or 821 (see map) make plans to attend your next CAPS meeting, set for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at St. Bruno School (south end, St. Joseph Room), 4839 S. Harding. 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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Shot three times on driveway in drive-by
A 43-year-old man was shot three times as he stood in the drive way of a home in the 8000 block of South Knox at about 7:20 p.m. Wednesday, March 23. The victim told police that a maroon sedan pulled up and someone inside began firing at him, hitting him twice in the left armpit and once in the chest. The victim was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition.






Shot me with a BB gun during spat, woman says
Samuel Vazzana


A 33-year-old Clearing man was charged with domestic battery and aggravated assault after he allegedly used a BB gun to shoot a 29-year-old woman in the lower body, during an argument at a home in the 6700 block of West 63rd Place.

Samuel S. Vazzana, of the same block, was arrested at his home at 9:38 p.m. Saturday, March 16.

According to public records, Vazzana has been arrested three times by CPD since 2014, on charges that included domestic battery (twice) and possession of a controlled substance.





Cellphone buyer pepper sprayed, robbed
A 42-year-old Chicago Ridge man was pepper-sprayed and robbed in an alley near 79th and Whipple at 3:10 p.m. Thursday, March 21. The victim told police he was at the site to purchase a cellphone from a man he met on the OfferUp app. When the seller asked to see his cash and the victim complied, the seller sprayed the victim in the face, snatched the cash and ran away. He was described as a black man age 18-20, and 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, with brown eyes and a dark complexion. He wore a gray hoody.






Pregnant woman accosted by boyfriend at McDonald’s
A 22-year-old woman who is eight months pregnant was accosted by her boyfriend as she worked at her job at the McDonald’s at 6720 W. Archer at 8:49 p.m. Thursday, March 21. The victim told police that her boyfriend, an 18-year-old Brighton Park man, walked into the restaurant and started arguing with her. When she told him to leave, he walked behind the counter and pulled her hair. He then fled the restaurant. The victim told police that her boyfriend is a gang member who has beaten her with a handgun in the past. He remains at large.






Man charged with weapons, drug violations
Gilberto Diaz



A 27-year-old West Lawn man was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun and narcotics possession after police reportedly found a handgun and a bag with a small amount of cocaine in his pickup truck.

Police responding to a call of two men drinking alcohol in the truck—parked in the 6300 block of South Kilbourn at 10:21 p.m. Wednesday, March 20—spotted Gilberto Diaz, of the 6200 block of South Karlov, in the truck with another man.

Diaz was taken into custody after police searched the vehicle.



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Burglars smash pickup truck window
Burglars smashed the rear window of a pickup truck parked on the street in the 5000 block of South La Crosse and stole a garage door opener inside. They then used the remote to open the garage door and stole assorted tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 45-year-old man, at about 3 a.m. Thursday, March 21.





Teen girl pushed to the ground, robbed
A 17-year-old West Lawn girl was pushed to the ground and robbed of her cellphone as she walked down a sidewalk in the 7100 block of South Ridgeway at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 20. The victim told police that a boy or man emerged from a gangway at 7136 S. Ridgeway just before he committed the crime. He fled in a gray vehicle with a dent on the passenger side. It had been parked in a nearby alley. The offender was described only as a black boy or man, hair in dreadlocks, wearing a red jacket and blue jeans. The victim’s knee was scraped from the fall, but she declined medical aid.






Charge man with threatening cops

A 46-year-old Archer Heights man was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly
Michael Slivka
threatened two police officers at his home in the 4900 block of South Knox at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 20.


Police responding to a call of a domestic disturbance said they found Michael Slivka on his front porch.

He allegedly approached an officer in a hostile manner, ripping off his shirt and saying, “I will kick your f~cking ass.” When a second officer warned Slivka that they would taser him if he persisted, he allegedly said, “I’ll kick your ass, too.”

Officers then tasered him twice before Slivka was apprehended. He was transported to Holy Cross Hospital, where medical staff removed the taser prongs from Slivka’s chest and stomach area.



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Bust three in Ford City Mall scuffle


Three people were arrested at Ford City Mall at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16 after they reportedly scuffled with security
Jacolby Coolidge
staff. Jacolby M. Coolidge, 24, of the 9000 block of South Justine; Chakuria D. Taylor, 21, of the 2400 block of West 62nd Street; and Lanasha S. Walker, 31, of the 8300 block of South Marshfield, were taken into custody in the mall.



Security officers at the mall told police that the dustup started when they asked Coolidge to remove his hoody. The mall has a “no hoody” policy.

Coolidge allegedly refused and was told he had to leave. When security staff tried to force him to leave, he allegedly became combative.

During the ensuing scuffle, Taylor and Walker allegedly jumped in, trying to help Coolidge. 

All were charged with misdemeanor battery. Coolidge also was charged with criminal
Lanasha Walker
trespass to land and assault after he allegedly threatened to return with a gun and “shoot up the mall.”


According to public records, Coolidge has been arrested four times by CPD since 2014, on charges that included unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He also has served time in state penitentiaries--twice on weapons convictions and once on a heroin-related conviction. 









Chakuria Taylor

Nothing missing in 60th Street heist
Burglars broke into a home in the 6200 block of West 60th Street, but apparently did not steal anything. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 61-year-old man, as he and his wife returned home after shopping, at about 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16.
















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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Spring storms bring perils, homeowners warned

Local man serves as homeowners’ advocate

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

The sometimes-sudden, severe storms springtime brings to the Southwest Side can leave quite a bit in their wake: downed trees and power lines, damaged roofs and fast-talking quick-fix guys who seem to come out of nowhere.

“You have to be really careful, but perhaps especially senior
citizens,” said CPD Officer Ray Tracy said at a CAPS Beat 811 meeting last week. “This is the time of year when these con artists really come out. Be careful who you open your door for.”

Tracy described a situation where a 92-year-old Garfield Ridge man heard his doorbell ring. He answered it and found a man asking him if he was aware that he had roof damage. The elderly homeowner stepped outside and walked around the side of his house with the man, to have a better look and talk about what repairs might costs.

A few minutes later, the senior citizen noticed that accomplices had slipped into his house and stolen and envelope with about $3,000 cash inside. The victim chased the thieves to their pickup and grabbed the door as it started to speed away. He was dragged a short distance before he let go.  

The elderly man was banged up, but is recovering.

Other dangers

Another peril that some homeowners face is dealing with insurance companies when they file claims relating to storm damage.

“That storm we had [in May of 2018], where it was like a mini-
tornado and it was even knocking down trees…I could see that my window frames were damaged [from the storm’s wind-blown hail],” said Sue Sarafin, a senior citizen who has owned a home near 57th and Oak Park for about 35 years.
So she called her insurance agent and started the claims process. “They sent somebody out, and he looked at the damage; but then later I learned that all they would pay was for a few replacement screens.”

She was dissatisfied, to say the least.

“You pay your [insurance] premiums for years and years, and then this happens? They only give you this small amount? That doesn’t make sense.”

On the advice of others, she then called Geno Randazzo of
All Exterior Contractors—licensed, bonded, insured and a
member of the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce—a Southwest Side native building a home repair expert in the area.

He also has been visible in the community over the last several years, helping sponsor drives to assist military veterans, local school children and Thanksgiving dinners for senior citizens.

What sets Randazzo apart from others is that he also serves as a public claims adjuster—a licensed professional who can and has gotten insurance companies to pay what they should pay homeowners.

Randazzo “came out and looked at my home and garage, and he pointed out storm damage that I myself had not seen,” Sarafin said. There was damage to the roof my garage, and there was [hail damage] on my gutters, downspouts, awnings and siding.”

She consented to having Randazzo represent her, and he
got to work filing a new claim. After a lot of back and forth over the next several months, the insurance company that had been willing to pay only $2,900 changed course and agreed to pay more than $15,000 for storm damage to her home.

Sarafin said she is “completely satisfied with what Geno did with the insurance company, as well as the quality of the work his company did in repairing my house and garage. I would recommend him to everyone; and the next time a severe storm comes through, I’ll call Geno first.”

“Just about everybody likes their local insurance agent—it
may be a friend, a relative, an old classmate—but all too often, it’s a different story when people have to deal with the big insurance companies,” Randazzo said. “Keep in mind, that big insurance company you’ve been paying premiums to for years and years does not represent you. They represent themselves. Mrs. Sarafin’s story is familiar—a homeowner with thousands of dollars in storm damage, but an insurance company that pays only a few hundred. All too often, people get short-changed; and since they didn’t know their rights, they didn’t know what to do.”

“What I tell people is, call me first at (708) 705-7900—before you call your insurance agent, before you contact your insurance company to make a claim,” Randazzo added. “I will show you how I will work on your behalf, representing you, to get what you deserve.”

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Going Once, Going Twice...

Properties may be sold at auction if taxes not paid soon 

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Hundreds of Southwest Side properties are at risk of being sold at auction in May, unless their back taxes are paid.

Lists released last week by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas show that the large majority of the properties are residential—but there are a handful of noteworthy business properties that are said to be in arrears.

Perhaps most striking is the Cicero Hotel (formerly
Sportsman’s Inn), 4501 South Cicero, which reportedly is more than $207,000 behind in taxes and interest.

Once a seedy motel scorned by local civic leaders and hauled into court by local aldermen, the Cicero Hotel (under new ownership) has been undergoing a slow-moving renovation for several years and now boasts a selection of rehabbed rooms with all new beds and other furniture.

A message left for the hotel’s owner was not returned.

Other Southwest Side properties reportedly behind in taxes include:

• 6806, 6810 and 6812 W. Archer, which together are said to be more than $15,000 in the hole. The first was until recently home to A Cup of Joe coffee shop. The other two are the storefront home of the VDSA private security and detective agency. The properties’ owners are listed as two members of the Shubert family (the A Cup of Joe storefront is the former decades-long home of Shubert Draperies).




• Two blocks west, the property at 7023 West Archer is listed as more than $5,500 behind. The owner is Andrzej Korniejczuk, and the address is home to Halina’s Pub.

• Four connected properties, 5842-8 West 63rd St., appear to be more than $10,000 behind in taxes, in sum. The owner is Hickory Hills resident Jerome McDonald, according to Pappas’ list. In recent years, the site was home to Nu-Way Cleaners.

• Ten connected properties, 5932-56 S. Central, about $18,000 delinquent, all told, owned by an LLC with unnamed owners.

• The Acero Marquez School, 47th and Francisco, more than $90,000 delinquent.

• Four storefront properties—4622-30 S. Cicero, owned by S. Sheikh of suburban Lemont—which together are more than $3,800 in the hole.

In all, some 57,000 property owners across Cook County owe nearly $190 million in delinquent taxes, according to Pappas. Those properties may be auctioned at the annual tax sale that begins May 3.

Lists of all the properties, by suburban municipality and city ward, are published on the Cook County Treasurer's website.

“I am asking religious leaders, community groups and elected officials to use these lists to see if they know any of these homeowners with delinquent taxes and alert them about the Tax Sale,” Pappas said. “With their help, we will get many homes off the Tax Sale list.”

Among the properties with delinquent taxes:

Nearly 21,000 owners may be unaware of the Tax Sale because the U.S. Postal Service has returned their bills and subsequent notices.
About 22,000 owe $1,000 or less.
More than 2,000 homes are probably owned by senior citizens.
As many as 900 seniors would see their homes removed from the Tax Sale if they applied for property tax exemptions they qualify for.

Homeowners can avoid the Tax Sale by paying all delinquent taxes and interest before the sale begins. To see if your taxes are delinquent—and to make a payment—visit cookcountytreasurer.com and select “Avoid the Tax Sale.” 

Reaction from Southwest Side homeowners quizzed at the West Lawn Branch Library was a mix of surprise and anger.

“This is amazing,” said Estela Reyes. “If you had asked me how many are behind on their property taxes (countywide), I would have said a thousand or so. But 57,000? Unreal.”

Ryszard Markowski said the list “makes me angry. I always pay my taxes on time, every year. Why do these deadbeats get away with it?”

Sheila Brown said she understands why some homeowners fall behind on their taxes “because when you have to put food on the table, sometimes tax bills have to wait. But I look at that figure ($190 million) and I wonder how many things in government don’t get funded because of that.”


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Thursday, March 21, 2019

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 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.


* * *

Woman robbed at knifepoint in med office waiting area
A 43-year-old Scottsdale woman was robbed at knifepoint as she sat in the waiting area of a medical office in the 6900 block of South Pulaski at 1:41 p.m. Tuesday, March 12. The victim, who speaks only Spanish, initially did not understand the robber, who spoke English. After he pulled a knife and put it to her stomach, he went through her pockets, stealing her cellphone and purse before fleeing. He was last seen running east on 69th Place. He was described as a white man age 30-35, about 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds. He wore a blue and gray sweatshirt.



* * *

Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in and/or own a business in Beats 813 or 833 (see map) make plans to attend your next CAPS meeting, set for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 26 at West Lawn Park, 4233 West 65th Street. 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.




* * *



Cellphone buyer sprayed in face, robbed
A 36-year-old South Shore man was robbed as he tried to purchase an iPhone on a sidewalk in front of 7909 S. Whipple at 12:34 pm. Wednesday, March 13. The victim told police he met the seller through the LetGo website and had arranged to buy the phone at the designated location. When he arrived, the seller emerged from a gangway and demanded payment first. When the buyer refused, the seller sprayed a mace-like substance in his face, grabbed $300 cash and ran away. He was described as a black man age 20-23, about 5-foot-6 with brown eyes and a medium complexion. He wore a black and white hoody with a red design, black and white sweatpants, gray socks and flip-flops. The victim’s eyes were burning, but he refused medical care.






Washes her clothes, then robbed at knifepoint
A 52-year-old Archer Heights woman was robbed at knifepoint as she walked out of a coin laundry in the 4500 block of South Pulaski at 10:24 p.m. Sunday, March 10. The victim told police that she and a 19-year-old relative were loading their vehicle when a man approached and, in Spanish, ordered her to hand over her purse. When the victim refused, the bandit pulled a knife and pressed it against her side. She handed over the purse. When the 19-year-old woman ran after the robber and attempted to get the purse back, the offender threatened her, saying, “Imma cut you, b~tch.” The robber then jumped into a black vehicle and sped away west on 46th Street. He was described as a Hispanic man age 40-45, about 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds, with a light complexion. He wore a dark green hoody under a black jacket, dark blue sweatpants and a white baseball cap. The victim’s purse contained a cellphone, $80 cash and a Matricula ID, among other items.






Elderly pizza driver robbed at gunpoint
A 77-year-old man delivering food for Giordano’s pizza was robbed at gunpoint as he attempted to make a delivery to a home in the 4400 block of South Leclaire at 8:20 p.m. Saturday, March 9. The victim told police that as he walked with the food, a man emerged from a gangway, pointed a pistol at him and said, “Give me the money or I’ll f~cking kill you.” The victim handed over his wallet (which contained $80 cash and a debit card, among other items), and the bandit ran away east. He was described as a black man age 20-25, about 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds, with a medium complexion. He wore a black hoody and black sweatpants.

Young pizza driver robbed at gunpoint
A 21-year-old man delivering food for Giordano’s pizza was robbed at gunpoint as he attempted to make a delivery to a home in the 4400 block of South Leclaire at 11:15 p.m. Sunday, March 10. The victim told police that as he stood in a gangway to make a delivery to a side door, a man accosted him with a revolver, saying, “I’m going to kill you.” The gunman then took the pizza and soda from the driver and ran away. The victim relocated to 45th and Cicero, where he called police. The robber was described as a black man age 20-25, about 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds, with black hair in an Afro and a dark complexion. He wore a red, white and blue jacket and blue sweatpants.



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Gangbanger robs men near Groucho’s
A 34-year-old Chicago Lawn man and a 35-year-old Brighton Park man were robbed at gunpoint as they sat in an SUV parked in a lot adjacent to Groucho’s lounge, 8355 S. Pulaski, at about 3 a.m. Monday, March 11. The victims told police that a man walked up, pulled a handgun and said, “Hey, motherf~cker, I’m a [Latin] King. What are you?” The victims replied that they are not gang members, but the gunman refused to believe them. He said, “Give me your wallets, money and phones. Give me everything or I’ll kill you.” The victims handed over two wallets and a cellphone. The bandit then ran away east on 84th Street. He was described as a Hispanic man age 30-35, about 5-foot-9 and 220 pounds with a light complexion. He wore an orange jumpsuit, a black skullcap and had a black scarf around his face. Police later detected the victim’s cellphone pinging at 64th and California but were unable to locate the offender.




Beauty salon robbed by bandit with knife
A man with a knife robbed the Beauty 2000 salon, 4306 W. 63rd St., at 6:15 p.m. Friday, March 8. The salon’s owner, a 54-year-old Burbank woman, told police that the bandit pulled a small knife and asked her where she keeps the money. She told him and them complied with his demand that she lock herself in the bathroom. Later, when she emerged from the bathroom, she saw that the robber was gone and that about $150 cash was missing. The bandit was described as a Hispanic man age 30-39, about 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, with a light complexion. He wore a brown jacket with baggy pants.







Man charged with hitting policeman

A 32-year-old West Elsdon man was charged with aggravated battery after he allegedly
Jose Aviles
scuffled with a police officer in a parking lot at 4550 W. 57th St. at 8:13 a.m. Sunday, March 10.


Jose C. Aviles, of the same block, also was charged with DUI. Police had been summoned to the site by Aviles’ girlfriend, who reported a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, they reportedly found Aviles behind the wheel of a vehicle, its engine running. Aviles allegedly became combative and threatened to beat up the investigating officer. He reportedly refused an order to exit the vehicle and started to make a phone call to summon a friend to come over and beat up the officer.

When the policeman reached in the vehicle to confiscate the phone, Aviles allegedly grabbed the officer’s protective vest and punched him several times. Other police units arrived, and Aviles was taken into custody.



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Police bust two on drug-related offenses
Petrulias Paul



A 49-year-old Clearing man was charged with possession of controlled substances after he “was observed in a hand-to-hand narcotic transaction and then fled from police,” a CPD spokesman said.

Petrulias A. Paul, of the 6000 block of South Meade, was arrested at 3:53 p.m. Monday, March 11 on the same block.

Arrested at the same time was Ronald Jennings, 27, of the 7700 block of South East End Avenue.

He was charged with four felony counts relating to narcotics.
Ronald Jennings


Jennings was arrested in the 6000 block of West 63rd Street. Police said they recovered “various amounts of narcotics” from him, although they declined to say exactly what.











Man blames ‘Mexican gangs’ for gun possession
Torrance Coats


A 20-year-old West Side man was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun and unlawful possession of ammunition after he was arrested on the street in the 5100 block of West 48th Street at 10:17 a.m. Thursday, March 14.

Torrance Dante Coats, of the 3500 block of West Carroll, was apprehended after police on patrol reportedly spotted him jaywalking.

When they stopped him to speak with him, officers said they noticed a large bulge in his jacket. They searched him and recovered a .38 caliber revolver with six live rounds. Torrance reportedly explained the weapon by telling officers that he needed it because “Mexican gangs” were after him.






Barking dog may have frightened burglars
Burglars broke into a home in the 7800 block of South Sawyer and stole a tablet computer and a small bag containing assorted jewelry. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 59-year-old woman, at about 9 p.m. Thursday, March 14. The victim told police that only one room in the house had been ransacked, and she believed her barking dog may have prevented them from searching other rooms.





Burglars vandalize apartment with bleach
Burglars broke into an apartment in the 4900 block of South Millard and stole an Xbox video game console and a TV. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 24-year-old woman, at about 4 p.m. Thursday, March 14. The victim told police that the offenders have vandalized the apartment by pouring bleach all over. The crime may have been interrupted, since the burglars had removed a second TV from a wall but left it in the apartment.





Owner says relative burglarized his store
A store at 4635 W. 63rd St. was burglarized, and the owner told police that the offender is a relative. Police responding to a burglar alarm just after 3 p.m. Saturday, March 9 were contacted by the business owner, who said the burglar was inside. When police arrived, the offender was not on the premises, but security camera footage reportedly showed him stealing a jug full of coins (worth an estimated $250) and fleeing out the back door. The relative, a 29-year-old Burbank man, has not been apprehended.





Bust man on shoplifting rap at liquor store
Arnell Nettles



A 31-year-old man was charged with retail theft after he allegedly stole merchandise from Archer Liquors, 5996 S. Archer, at 9:39 p.m. Saturday, March 9.

Arnell M. Nettles, who police say is from downstate Charleston, was apprehended at the scene.

They did not say what Nettles allegedly stole. According to public records, Nettles has been arrested five times by CPD since 2017, on charges that includes retail theft (four times) and assault.









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