RETAIL THEFT Joshua Long, 22, of Chicago, was charged with retail theft July 25 after stealing two iPods from Target, 4120 W. 95th St., Oak Lawn, where he worked, police said.
from the Southtown Star


Police suggest car explosion at Lockport bank was intentional

One person is in custody after apparently driving a vehicle up to the PNC Bank on Ninth Street in southwest suburban Lockport Friday evening and intentionally triggering an explosion, officials said.

Fire crews were initially called to the bank at the intersection of East 9th Street and Read Street about 8:30 p.m. to reports of a car on fire, Lockport Fire Department Batallion Chief John Kure said.

Some type of device in the car exploded, causing minor damage to the bank by blowing out the building’s doors and windows, Kure said. The explosion seemed to be intentional, he said.

The Cook County Bomb Squad and the Joliet Fire Department's hazardous materials team were called also to the incident.

Officials on the scene said the driver of the vehicle was caught a short distance from the blast and he told authorities there was another bomb in the car.

The person in custody, thought to be the car’s driver, refused medical treatment and was taken into police custody, Kure said.

The Lockport Police Department, Cook County Bomb Squad and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating the incident, Kure said.

Roads were blocked off in the bank area Friday night and the investigation was continuing.

from the Herald-News


Jail guard helped prisoners escape

A former correctional officer at Cook County Jail was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Thursday for helping six inmates escape in 2006.

Darin Gater, 41, was convicted of six counts of official misconduct in May after a bench trial before Circuit Judge James Obbish.

Gater turned over his uniform and keys to inmates and handcuffed himself in a cell to make it appear he had been overpowered, according to prosecutors. An inmate wore Gater's uniform and tricked another guard into opening a door.

All six escapees were recaptured in a little more than 24 hours. Prosecutors said Gater hoped the scheme would embarrass then-Sheriff Michael Sheahan and his chief of staff, Tom Dart, who was running against a candidate favored by Gater and is now the sheriff.

from the Trib


Anti-cop graffiti found in South Loop

An alderman was notified after graffiti that reportedly said "we kill police" was found on a building in the South Loop Monday, police said.

Someone apparently complained and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) was notified when the graffiti was found Monday on the building at 1234 S. Michigan Ave., according to a Central District police lieutenant.

The writing, which reportedly said “we kill police’’ looked faded, and the word ‘police’ was barely visible, according to the lieutenant.

The writing was going to be removed, according to the lieutenant who said the writings did not appear to be recent.

The alderman was not immediately available early Tuesday.

from the Sun-Times


Vandals target patio flowers at Chicago restaurants

Chicago's outdoor-cafe ordinance mandates that 50% of the fencing around a patio be furnished with live plants. But some shop owners are having a hard time keeping the greenery safe from vandals this year.

Al Rose arrived at his coffee shop, Kopi A Traveler's Café in Andersonville, one morning in June to discover plants yanked out and thrown against a wall, leaving dirt and flower parts strewn on the sidewalk.

Vandalism isn't a surprise — experience has taught him to use inexpensive flowers — "but it's rarely been this early in the year, and they've not been this violently destroyed before," he says.

The patio at Letizia's Natural Bakery, along with a handful of other businesses on Division Street in Wicker Park, was hit in June. Fabio Sorano, whose mother, Letizia, opened the bakery 12 years ago, once used thorny plants to discourage tampering but switched to petunias when the vandalism stopped several years ago.

"This year, somebody's doing it, and I don't know why," Mr. Sorano says.

The Chicago Police Department does not separate indoor and outdoor reports of criminal damage to property, so it's difficult to count reports. But Randi Kowal has taken steps to protect the greenery outside Little Threads, her children's clothing store in Roscoe Village. In past years, thieves made off with smaller planters; now she uses heavy, four-foot-tall ones.

Still, passersby stub out cigarettes or deposit beer bottles in the planters.

"I don't know whether it's juveniles or drunks rolling out of restaurants at the late hours, but it's unacceptable," says Mary Markarian, executive director of the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce. "Them and the graffiti guys — please, get a job."
from Chicago Business


Man briefly steals squad car

A Cook County sheriff's squad car was briefly stolen by a man who led police on an unusual chase after a traffic stop Friday evening near the Stickney-Chicago border.

The incident began about 5 p.m. near 47th and Knox in an unincorporated area between Chicago and Stickney, according to the Cook County sheriff's office.

A Cook County sheriff's officer was attempting to pull over the driver, but the man continued to drive for two more blocks, finally pulling over at 47th and Kenneth, authorities said. A Chicago Police officer arrived on the scene for backup.

But after stopping, the motorist put his vehicle in reverse and struck the sheriff's police squad, authorities said. He then got out and ran, followed by both officers on foot.

The offender circled around and came back to the original scene and jumped into the empty sheriff's police squad. He then drove east on 47th Street, authorities said.

The police officer got back into his vehicle and pursued the suspect down an alley.

The offender then stopped the sheriff's squad car, got out and again ran off. After a short foot chase, this time the Chicago officer was able to apprehend the man and take him into custody, officials said.

from the Sun-Times

Public defender chokes prosecutor

An apparent argument between two attorneys Thursday led to Assistant Cook County public defender Henry Hams, 47, appearing before a Cook County judge Friday morning. He was charged with felony aggravated battery in a public place and felony resisting arrest for allegedly shoving an assistant state's attorney before putting him in a "choking headlock" near Jimmy's snack shop on the ground floor of the courthouse. The scuffle allegedly took place after a courtroom debate earlier Thursday morning between the two attorneys.

After Friday's brief hearing, Judge Maria Kuriakos-Ciesil ordered Hams released on his own recognizance.

Hams allegedly said he choked the victim -- who was briefly hospitalized -- because he was "sick" of being "mocked" by the prosecutor, a source told the Sun-Times.

from the Sun-Times

Sweet 16 party turns riot

A bar and grill has been shut down after seven teens were arrested when a Sweet 16 birthday party turned into a free-for-all Thursday.

Deputy Police Chief Mike Trafton said the "melee" began around 9 p.m. at Bar Blu, inside Union Station downtown.

"The business had rented out part of the inside for a 16th birthday party, but allowed minors access into the bar area without any adult supervision," Trafton said.

The youngsters apparently got out of hand and a nearby police officer was flagged down.

"There were 50 to 60 people, mostly juveniles, tearing up the bar, wrecking chairs and tables, brawling inside and out into the street," Trafton said.

Police began dispersing the crowd, but needed about 15 minutes to get the situation under control.

During the commotion, a 16-year-old boy "headbutted" an officer in the face, reports said. That boy was arrested and booked into the River Valley Juvenile Detention Center on charges of aggravated battery to a police officer and mob action.

from Herald News

Road workers strike spreads

Road construction laborers went on strike Wednesday morning followed at midnight by heavy equipment operators.

Among the reconstruction projects put on hold are the Eisenhower Expressway, Lower Wacker Drive and the Congress bridge.

The strike over wage issues by some members of the Laborers' District Council of Chicago caused relatively minor disruptions to the $95 million Eisenhower resurfacing project, Marisa Kollias, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said Wednesday.

But she said the situation would quickly worsen if other unions joined the strike, which they now have.

Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, whose members operate heavy machinery, went on strike at midnight after an authorization vote earlier in the evening. The walkout involves about 8,500 union members working under several agreements in nine northeastern Illinois counties.

Other unions that could follow include carpenters, cement masons and technical engineers.

"We are in OK shape right now on the Eisenhower and we will be OK if the strike lasts a couple of days,'' Kollias said Wednesday. "But if this goes on for a couple of weeks or a month, the project will be seriously delayed.''

from the Trib

Bored youth proletarian vanguard

Shots from a pellet gun put two holes into a window at Buffalo Wild Wings in Tinley Park, 7301 183rd St., on June 23.

Five vehicles were keyed between June 26 and 28 at Orland Toyota in Tinley Park, 8505 159th St.
from Southtown Star

BP vacuum leaks quarters

The owner of an air vacuum machine outside the BP gas station, 11040 S. Pulaski Road in Oak Lawn, said someone stole $475 in quarters from the machine between April 7 and June 7.
from Southtown Star