Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Police Blotter From "Inside Online"

Copper cable taken from lightpoles

There were two instances of copper cable being stolen from streetlights last week. Police say this crime has been an ongoing problem in the area. Between May 3 and May 5, 350 feet of wire worth $5,000 was taken on the 900 block of Agatite Ave. The criminals opened the bottom of a light pole, pulled out the wire, attached it to a vehicle and then pulled out all the cable by driving away.

The second case of the same crime occurred between May 4 and May 5 on the 900 block of W. Sunnyside Ave. In that instance, 175 feet of wire worth $2,500 was nabbed. When called May 6, Chicago Streets and Sanitation Bureau of Electricity Spokesman Matt Smith didn’t get any information about this but he said that theft of public property such as this is probably not limited to Chicago only.

An April 30 article in the Los Angeles Times says “The rampant theft of copper and other metals in Southern California has begun hitting Inland Empire freeways hard, leaving motorists in increasing danger as traffic signals and lights in underpasses and rest areas have gone dark, law enforcement and Caltrans officials said Tuesday.” Raw copper can earn scrappers about $3 a pound. The article notes many of the thieves appear to be proper workers wearing official-looking apparel.

Thieves steal seats out of car

A restaurant manager, 32, got a rude awakening when she walked to her car May 4 at 10:05 p.m. on the 900 block of W. Gunnison St. She discovered that thieves had broken in her car and cut it apart disassembling the vehicle. They stole her two front car seats and a big chunk of her dashboard. In addition, her laptop computer was also taken from the 2002 Honda convertible. Elaborate pry tools were likely used, police suspect. The auto alarm was cut as well.

Camera taken from synagogue

A synagogue on the 5000 block of N. Kenmore reported a high-end “Eiki” video camera worth $15,000 missing May 1. [Uptown Update note: This is really sad. This synagogue has been robbed many times recently and was the target of hate crimes at least twice.]

Auto parts removed

A designer, 55, reported the catalytic converter was removed from his 1997 Toyota on the 800 block of Buena Avenue sometime between April 28 to April 30. This is the latest in a string of such cases. Another converter was also reported taken from a 2001 Jeep May 2. It was parked on the street on the 2500 block of N. Stockton Drive.

Uptown gang member armed with club

Police received notice of possible drug dealing and gang activity at 7:45 pm. Thursday, May 1 on the 900 block of W. Windsor Avenue. Officers went to the location and saw a man “carrying a wooden club/ bludgeon in the low ready position upon the public way. Subject is affiliated with the Vice Lord street gang,” according to a police report. The subject, 18, lives on the 800 block of W. Sunnyside Avenue. He has a June 16 court date.

Buena Park coffee shop burglarized

The popular Dollop Coffee Company storefront coffee shop at 4181 N. Clarendon Avenue was burglarized May 3. An unknown person used a rock to break the glass in the front door. The burglar then entered the coffee shop and grabbed the cash register, took it outside, removed the contents and dumped the register in the garbage can outside. The exact total amount taken was not known, but is estimated at $71.


  1. I can't believe any shop owner would leave cash in a register overnight.

  2. Koocachoo, I don't know if you meant it like this, and I apologize if I'm jumping to a conclusion, but I hate to play "blame the victim." Seems like small business owners shouldn't have to worry about their windows being bashed in.

    Express Chicken on Wilson, who had a similar crime happen, is on the verge of going out of business, thanks in part to the money that was lost when someone broke their store door and grabbed the cash register. It's a damn shame that vandals and thieves are making these mom-and-pop shops their targets, because they often don't have insurance to cover the extent of their losses.

    Both crimes, at Dollop and Express Chicken, happened on main streets that have lots of foot and car traffic. Scary. I hate to see Uptown lose businesses due to street crime.

  3. And do you think Helen even gives a crap about these crimes? I highly doubt she would care if these places went out of business. Retail commerce is not on her priority list (take a look at Broadway).

    Now, I think I will go to Express Chicken tonight to show them my support.

  4. I'm simply saying that it is beyond my comprehension that in today's world, in this neighborhood - and especially after it had been done to other businesses, a shop owner would leave money in the register overnight. I've worked in several retail establishments over the years, and not one left money in the register at night. In fact, I've worked places that would leave the drawer open and the till on the counter upside down, so that people looking in would know there was nothing in it.

  5. It sounds like these places don't have a safe or they just forgot to use it or......

    I am not blaming the store owners for getting robbed, that is out of their control, but I am surprised that they did not remove the cash from the register and put it in a safe overnight. I have worked in one form of retail or another for over 10 years and the #1 thing you do when you close is either:
    A: close out the register and only leave $100.00 in the drawer (in the safe) for the next day or
    B: you take all the money and put it in the safe, taking profits to the bank often.
    I know mom and pop stores don't carry as much cash as most major retail but cash is cash and many people want it so bad they just take it, anyway they can.

    Anyway, it sucks for the business owners who recently got burglarized.

    One thing I have learned since I moved to Chicago is you never leave anything in your car......ANYTHING........NEVER EVER EVER!!!! :)
    It doesn't matter where you live in the city.

    Lets see...In 2000 I had the spare tire stolen from my van in the parking lot of Weis Hospital (they actually left my plates and the security guard found them in the lot and called them over the loud speaker).

    In 2002 (while living in Lincon Park) I left my portable CD player on the console of my van. At some point during the week someone smashed out my passenger window and "Ripped" the player out of the van. The tape in the deck that hooks up to the CD player was wrapped around a console light on the dash and they tore that off the dash to get the CD player out. I think my van was sitting there for 3 days before I noticed it. It had rained and the seat was all wet. I went into panic because I had a CD folder with over 100 CD's on the floor but to my joy it was still there.

    In 2003 (while working in Riverpoint Plaza) my Door lock was ripped out of my door and my new, week old, $130.00 CD player was ripped out of my dash, while in the parking lot during the day. It looked like they took a crowbar to my beautiful wood dash, It was destroyed beyond repair. They did around $4,000 worth of damage to my Van for a $130.00 CD player. AMAZING. To top it off, Corporate changed the backpack rule that day so I had to put my backpack in the van while I was at work. I just so happened to have 4 videogames, a memory card, AND MY PASSPORT (I forgot it was in there, I had just gotten back from a trip to Amsterdam :) and they stole it too. The crazy thing is my pack was under the back bench so they had the time to search my entire van.

    I later donated the van since it was beyond my finances to repair a van which was 13 years old and had 200,000+ miles on it. I have stubbornly learned my lesson. Ha, a barely leave change in my car nowadays.

    Years ago I knew a guy who had his car stripped to the frame while it was parked on the street downtown. That was the craziest thing ever.

  6. I agree with Butternut, I too worked retail for over 21 years and even the corporate types to the ma & pop places each had their own ways of dealing with the cash registers at night. Most would leave the drawers open with the money in the safe or somewhere where it would be hard to get at.

    As for leaving anything in the car- I lived in Rodgers Park for nine years and about each year one of my crappy cars would get broken into. They even stole mix tapes! But most of the time it would be what little change they could find. It was SO much fun dealing with the insurance company!

  7. I went to Dollop over the weekend and saw they had no cash register. Instead, they were putting change in little dishes and piling up bills on a shelf behind the counter. Had a tasty coffee though. Love that place!