Friday, June 25, 2021

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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Charge woman with retail theft, again
Cynthia Ortega

A 35-year-old Chicago Lawn woman was charged with retail theft after she was arrested at 5301 S. Pulaski at 3:48 p.m. Friday, May 28.

Cynthia Ortega, of the 6000 block of South California, allegedly filled a cooler with merchandise from a nearby grocery store and stole it. A store manager told police that Ortega also stole merchandise on May 26, in the same manner, but was not apprehended.

According to public records, Ortega has been arrested 18 times by CPD since 2014 on charges that included criminal damage to property, assault, aggravated assault, violating an order of protection, criminal trespass to a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance and retail theft (seven times).

Say man violated order of protection
Pedro Rivera

A 41-year-old Ashburn man was charged with violating an order of protection after he was arrested during a traffic stop in the 3700 block of West 59th Street at 8:49 p.m. Sunday, May 30. 

Pedro A. Rivera was in a vehicle with a 40-year-old woman, in violation of a court order, a CPD spokesman said. He also was cited for driving on a suspended license.

Rivera’s arrest came exactly two weeks after he was apprehended in the 3000 block of West Walton and charged with domestic battery.

Say man drove drunk, wrong way on street
Oswaldo Garcia

A 39-year-old Lower West Side man was charged with aggravated DUI after he was arrested in the 3600 block of West 56th Place at 10:04 p.m. Sunday, May 30.

Oswaldo Garcia, of the 2300 block of South Seeley, was reportedly spotted driving his pickup truck the wrong way down a one-way street.

A charge of possession of a controlled substance was added after police reportedly found a small plastic bag of suspect cocaine on Garcia. He also was cited for driving without a license.

Man slumped over steering wheel hit with drug rap
Victor Martinez

A 43-year-old Chicago Lawn man was charged with possession of a controlled substance after he was arrested in the 5300 block of South Meade at 2:36 a.m. Saturday, June 12.

Victor M. Martinez, of the 6400 block of South Mozart, was reportedly found to be in possession of a substance suspected of being crack cocaine. Police encountered him slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle, a CPD spokesman said.

According to public records, Martinez has been arrested three times by CPD since 2016 on charges that included drinking alcohol on the public way, resisting arrest and violating parole by contacting a street gang member.

Arrested after dustup at MDW
Damarri Conner

An 18-year-old Southeast Side man was charged with two counts of assault and three counts of resisting arrest after he was arrested at Midway International Airport at 8:08 a.m. Monday, June 14. 

Damarri K. Conner, of the 2200 block of East 97th Street, allegedly threatened officers responding to a call of a disturbance between Conner and a TSA staffer.

A CPD spokesman did not indicate if Conner was a ticketed air passenger or not.

Hit Oak Lawn man with drug charges
Gytis Stanevicius

A 34-year-old Oak Lawn man was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance after he was arrested in the 4400 block of South Lavergne at 1:13 p.m. Tuesday, June 8.

Gytis Stanevicius, of the 4800 block of West 109th Street, allegedly was found to be in possession of small amounts of cocaine and Xanax.

He was encountered by police who said his parked vehicle was blocking an alley.

Charge man with drug possession

A 23-year-old Ashburn man was charged with possession of a controlled substance and drinking alcohol on the public way after he was arrested in the 8600 block of South Karlov at 9:38 p.m. Saturday, June 5.

Thomas Velasquez, of the 7700 block of South Homan, was in a vehicle and found to be in
Thomas Velasquez

possession of a controlled substance, as well as an open container of malt liquor, a CPD spokesman said.

According to public records, Velasquez has been arrested four times by CPD since 2016 on charges that included assault, aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident and battery.

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Monday, June 21, 2021

A Simple Solution to a Simple Problem, Thanks to Businessman Arturo Ayala

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

If anyone asks why the Scottsdale neighborhood is such a good and special place, meet Arturo Ayala.

Ayala is a young Southwest Sider (a 2014 graduate of Hubbard High School) and a budding businessman. He owns and operates his own company, M.B Landscaping, an increasing popular firm that handles everything from simple grass cutting to larger and more comprehensive landscaping that makes the exterior of homes and businesses sparkle.

Earlier this month, in the Scottsdale Neighborhood Watch Facebook group, a person complained about the severely overgrown lawn and bushes at a vacant (and for sale) home near 82nd Place and Kilpatrick. The grounds were unkempt at best, downright ugly at worst.

Several people weighed in with suggestions on what to do about the problem. Some said call the alderman's office. Others said call 311. Others suggested calling Streets and Sanitation and having the owner (whoever that is) ticketed and fined. Still another person suggested contacting a lawyer and suing the property owner.

All "solutions" that could takes weeks or even months--while the grass, weeds and bushes would grow worse.

But as others suggested punitive measures, Ayala stepped forward with a simple, constructive idea. He volunteered to swing by with his truck, lawn mower, weed whacker and simply get the job done. No charge. A community service from Ayala, a businessman who lives in Scottsdale.

And he did exactly that the following morning. Being a responsible business owner, Ayala first made sure he had the OK of the both the property owner and the realty agent--who, as you might imagine, were grateful for the unexpected assistance.

Sure enough, the lawn and grounds looked great after a couple hours of TLC by Ayala--a man who knows what he's doing. The photos below help tell the tale, but only somewhat. Believe me, the "before" looked a lot worse than what photography can illustrate.

Thank you, Arturo Ayala.

Anyway, I think the lesson for us all is that very often in this community (or any community, really), there are solutions to problems that don't have to involve government, don't have to involve public shaming, don't have to involve suing anyone, or anything negative.

Here we have a simple situation that needed a simple solution. And one was provided by Arturo Ayala of M.B landscaping, obviously a responsible, generous businessman who gets things done. Hopefully, going forward, this can serve as a model for addressing other concerns in the neighborhood, as well as across the Southwest Side.

A few "before" photos.

Another "before" photo.

An "after" photo.

Arturo Ayala at work, first thing in the morning.

Two Ashburn Men Charged With Carjacking Near 81st and Pulaski

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Two Ashburn men have been arrested in connection with a
carjacking that occurred Sunday, June 20 in the 8100 block of South Pulaski.

Carlos Carlin,18, of the 3500 block of West 81st Street, and Joshua Saldana, 20, of the 3700 block of West 82nd Street, were apprehended by CPD on Sunday in the 1100 block of North Lake Shore Drive.

Both men were charged with one count of aggravated vehicular hijacking. Carlin also was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Both are due in bond court at 26th and California on Tuesday, June 22.

Police say the pair carjacked the victim, a 28-year-old man, at the Mobil gas station at 8145 S. Pulaski and sped away east with the car. They did not indicate why they believe Carlin and Saldana were involved or elaborate on the circumstances of the arrest on Lake Shore Drive.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Cowardly Creeps Can't Silence the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

and Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Last month, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation rented 66 billboards throughout the city, to post messages honoring and thanking our men and women in blue.

Perhaps predictably, some cowardly creep(s) used the cover of darkness to deface several of the boards, specifically at 3153 N. Ashland, 2243 N. Pulaski, 3342 N. Elston and 3542 N. Lincoln.

We won't show images of the defacement, of course, for the same reason we don't show photos of gang graffiti: we at the Southwest Chicago Post (unlike some of the downtown news organizations) refuse to amplify the messages of overgrown adolescents and other social misfits. They're pathetic and unworthy of serious consideration.

One of the CPMF billboard messages honors the memory of CPD Officer Samuel Jimenez, who was just 28 years old when he was shot to death while trying to save other people's lives outside Mercy Hospital in 2018. Read the details here.

Officer Jimenez left behind a young wife and three children, as well as his mother and other family and friends.

Here is the billboard design that honors his heroism:

You'd have to be a sniveling little snot to deface a billboard that honors the memory of Officer Jimenez-- especially knowing his widow, his children and his mother might see it.

Well, as you might expect, when the CPMF learned of the disgraceful act of vandalism, they swung into action and quickly replaced the billboards.

The CPMF also put out a statement that read:

"Chicago Police Officers wake up each day, put on their uniform, kiss their family’s goodbye and run toward danger while others run from it.

"Each one of our officers is a son, daughter, husband, wife, mother or father. They are human. It is our hope that we remind the citizens of Chicago that these officers are people too.

"We at the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation are saddened by the destruction of several of the billboards.

“The act of destroying a billboard placed to honor one of Chicago’s fallen officers is despicable. The individuals that take time to cause destruction to these billboards are cowards. They are not helping make the city a better place,” said Phil Cline, Executive Director of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. “We know that many of Chicagoans support our officers, and we invite them to show their support in positive ways.”

"We thank the thousands of active and retired Chicago Police Officers who do their job thanklessly each day. Additionally, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation honors the memory of each of the 594 fallen Chicago Police Officers. We will NEVER FORGET."

Here are a few other CPMF billboards:

The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to honoring the lives of our fallen heroes. The Foundation provides support and financial assistance to the families of Chicago police officers who are killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.

Established in 2004, the Foundation strengthens the relationship between the Chicago Police, business and civic leaders, and the citizenry. It allows folks to express gratitude to the fallen officers' families for the ultimate sacrifice of their loved one.

To date, the Foundation has donated more than $15.1 million to family members of Chicago police officers in need of assistance.

The CPMF is an organization worthy of the support of all Chicagoans. To learn more about the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and its mission--and make a donation--visit

If you are not financially able to support CPMF with a donation, please consider using the images above on your own website, Facebook page, etc.

That's what we're doing. We have decided to give the CPMF advertising through year's end on the Southwest Chicago Post website--an in-kind donation worth about $1,000.

Thanks for doing your part, as well.