Saturday, January 29, 2022

Charge 2 in Ford City Carjacking

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

A 19-year-old West Englewood man and a 15-year-old boy have been charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking in connection with a crime that occurred in a Ford City parking lot at about 8:45 a.m. Thursday, January 27.
Travell Barnes

Travell Barnes, 19, of the 6800 block of South Hermitage, and the boy allegedly took a vehicle and several other items belonging to a 36-year-old woman. Barnes also was charged with robbery. Police did not say what other items were stolen.

Barnes was arrested by members of the CPD Vehicular Hijacking Task Force at 10:17 a.m. in the 6700 block of South Evans, about 90 minutes after the crime occurred. Police said Barnes was a passenger in the victim’s vehicle when it was spotted in traffic and pulled over.

Bond was set at $70,000. Barnes was unable to post bail, and his next court date is set for February 4.

Police said the boy was the driver of the stolen vehicle, and that after the vehicle was curbed, the boy bolted and ran away. He was apprehended, and a charge of aggravated fleeing was added. The youth also was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

Police added that teen is connected to the November 21 aggravated vehicular hijacking of a 52-year-old woman in the 11600 block of South Oakley. A second charge of aggravated vehicular hijacking was added.

He was due in Juvenile Court on January 28.

Friday, January 28, 2022

West Lawn Man Charged With Murder in Connection With 47th/Rockwell Slaying

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

An 18-year West Lawn man has  been charged with murder in connection with the June 11 slaying of a 20-year-old woman in the 4700 block of South Rockwell.
Dilan Ugalde

Dilan Ugalde, of the 3600 block of West 62nd Place, was apprehended by members of the Chicago Police Department and the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force on January 26 in the 1900 block of North Mark Avenue in Elgin.

He is due in Central Bond Court at 26th and California on Friday, January 28.

In the June 11 slaying, a 20-year-old woman, Fhee Hernandez-Castillo, was sitting in the passenger seat of a car with her boyfriend in the 4700 block of South Rockwell at about 8:49 p.m. when a man approached and opened fire, yelling gang slogans, police said. Hernandez-Castillo was hit by gunfire in the neck and left hand.

After the shooting, her boyfriend drove off and stopped at the Shell gas station at 47th and California, where CFD paramedics arrived.

Hernandez-Castillo was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and was listed in critical condition, but she was pronounced dead at 10:28 p.m.

Ugalde is the second person charged in connection with the murder. Back in September, police arrested 19-year-old Roberto Rojas and said he was part of a gang-related scheme to block cars near 47th and Rockwell and screen for rival gang members. Police said Rojas stood in front of the victims' vehicle, block them from driving away, while Ugalde and a 16-year-old boy shouted gang slogans at them from the side of the vehicle.

Rojas is currently in custody of the Cook County Department of Corrections. His next court date is set for March 2 at 26th and California.

Think Twice Before Taking a Facebook Quiz, Better Business Bureau Says

Here's some useful advice just released by the Better Business Bureau:

Social media is used as a fun distraction for some people, and taking a Facebook quiz may seem like a harmless way to pass the time. But are you giving away more information than you think?

How the Scam Works:

A fun quiz pops up on your Facebook feed or another social media platform. A few questions are answered to prove how well you know a friend. Or a short personality test is offered to match with a character from a favorite TV show.

These quizzes appear to be meaningless, but the intent behind them is to collect information. For example, questions like:  "What was the first car you owned?" “What is your mother's maiden name?” or “What is the name of the street you grew up on?”  These are common security questions for insurance, banking and credit card accounts. Sharing this information can lead to accounts being hacked, and personal and financial information being stolen.

Not all social media quizzes are data collection scams; however, BBB cautions users to be careful about what they share online and to check the privacy settings on the account. Social media data and quiz answers can be used to steal identity or enable a scammer to impersonate you to your friends and family.

Tips to avoid social media scams:

Be skeptical: Before answering a quiz, figure out who created it. Is it a brand you trust? Just because something appears to be fun and innocent, doesn’t mean there isn’t an inherent risk.

Adjust privacy settings: Review the social media account’s privacy settings and be strict about any information that is shared  - and be mindful of who you are sharing it with.

Remove personal details from your profile: Don’t share information like phone number or home address on social media accounts.

Don't give answers to common security questions: Be cautious if the questions in a quiz ask for things like your mother's maiden name, street you grew up on, previously owned vehicles, favorite foods, or the name of your high school.

Monitor friend requests. Don't accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Also be wary of a second friend request from someone you are already connected with; the second profile may be an imposter trying to access your data and your Friends list.

For more information:

For more about social media scams, see this article about Facebook Messenger cons and this about social media advertising

For consumer tips, go to For business tips, go to

If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Arrest Two in Slaying of 8-Year-Old Girl

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Two people have been charged with murder in the January 22 slaying of 8-year-old Melissa Ortega in the Little Village neighborhood.

Xavier Guzman, 27, of the 4600 block of South Fairfield, and a 16-year-old boy are in custody and are set to appear at bond hearings on Thursday, January 27.
Xavier Guzman

In a press conference on January 26, CPD Supt. David Brown said, at 2:56 p.m. Saturday, January 22, officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert near 26th and Pulaski. They observed what Brown called "three purported gang members" on the corner of 26th and Komensky.

Here is full video of the press conference:


"Moments later, an individual emerged [from a vehicle], south of their location, near an alley and fired a handgun at them," Brown continued. "That's when Melissa and her mother were crossing the street, and Melissa was shot in the head."

Brown said the 16-year-old was the shooter, and Guzman was the driver of the getaway vehicle.

Brown said the shooter's target was a 29-year-old man. He was shot in the back as he ran from the gunfire.

Nearly hit by gunfire, Brown added, were a man and his 9-year-old daughter who were nearby, inside their vehicle.

Using surveillance cameras and license plate readers, Brown said police located the vehicle (although he did not say where), and he said the gun used in the slaying was found inside the vehicle.

Guzman was apprehended on January 24 in the 4300 block of South California. The 16-year-old boy was arrested on January 25 in the 3000 block of South Drake. 

According to public records, Guzman has been arrested three times by CPD since 2017, twice on charges that included possession of a controlled substance.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Southeast Side Man Charged With Archer Heights Carjacking

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Police say they’ve solved a carjacking that occurred in Archer Heights earlier this month.

An 18-year-old Southeast Side man was charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking in connection with the crime.

Monte Handley, of the 9000 block of South Muskegon, was apprehended by police in the 7500 block of South Ellis on Tuesday, January 18—a day after the carjacking occurred in the 5000 block of South Kolin. In that crime, a vehicle was taken by force from a 26-year-old woman.

Police said Handley was also identified in connection with an attempted robbery that occurred at 1 a.m. January 18 at a business in the 1600 block of West 95th Street. They said Handley was observed inside the Archer Heights carjacking victim’s vehicle and that he attempted to flee from officers before he was placed into custody.

In connection with what occurred on January 18, Handley was charged with attempted robbery, aggravated fleeing, resisting arrest, driving on a evoked license and other crimes.

Bond was denied, and Handley is set to appear in court on Wednesday, January 26.

Archer Heights Civic Association President Thomas S. Baliga praised police for their actions.

"As the preeminent and resolute community watchdog group for Archer Heights, it is our responsibility to occasionally criticize police brass for any number of things when warranted," Baliga said. "However, we remain steadfast in our praise for police on the front lines. They are truly where the rubber meets the road, and we salute their work, day in and day out, to protect people and property." 

Coincidentally on January 18, CPD issued a community alert regarding other carjackings in Archer Heights.

Crime scenes include:
• 4900 block of South Keeler at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11.
• 4000 block of West 49th Street at 6:07 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 16.
• 4900 block of South Keeler at 6:10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 16.
• 4500 block of South Keeler at 6:15 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 16.

Offenders were described as Hispanic men age 20-30, 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-11 and 140 pounds.

Those with useful information to share are encouraged to call CPD Area 1 detectives at (312) 747-8380 and refer to crime pattern P22-1-013.